Maria Sharapova may have gotten destroyed by Victoria Azarenka in the finals of the Sony Ericsson Open Saturday, but she still managed plenty of big wins along the way. The most notable victory for Sharapova came in the semis against Andrea Petkovic whom she defeated 3-6 6-0 6-2. The win avenged a 4th round loss to Petko in the Australian Open, and you could tell Sharapova took pride in the win, and beating Petkovic specifically.
Q. [Petkovic] thought you would be tired in the third after the long match you had the previous night. Didn't seem to be that way.Having not seen the press conference live, I'm not going to speculate on whether Sharapova was totally serious, completely joking or a mixture of both. Yet the fact that she brought up the dance twice shows that it was on her mind one way or the other.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Because I didn't do the dance after. I wasn't tired.
Boom, roasted. Sharapova didn't stop there, though:
Q. She said that one of the things that makes you such a good champion is that you sense right away a weakness in the other player and basically you jump on that. She said that she felt that you sensed she was hesitating, whatever. Can you talk about that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, to be honest, I felt like I was just making a lot errors in the first set and I wasn't moving my feet at all. And especially with the wind I wasn't moving towards the ball and letting the ball come to me and not really being aggressive. That's what's won me so many matches in my career is when I step in and I hit my strokes and they come deep. I just wasn't doing that. So first and foremost I felt like I had to start doing that and making little steps and adjusting my game a little bit. More than anything, I sensed that she was tired -- probably a lot of the dancing that she's been doing -- and I took advantage of it.
Petkovic is a delight to watch and has the sort of bubbly personality that the sport sorely lacks in the top 10. As Forty Deuce points out, she was gracious in victory and defeat in Miami. Those things don't belie the fact that the dance was bush league.
In case you haven't seen it:
It was a charming dance and one that gained Petko some YouTube fame, but it couldn't be fun and sportsmanlike at the same time, despite what the 23-year-old says she wanted. Petkovic said she would ask vanquished opponents whether she could do it before hand, but what are they going to say? "No"? How is somebody supposed to respond to, "Hey, do you mind if I rub your face in the loss a little bit?" There was no way to answer that in the negative without coming across as petty.
Those who get beat by Petkovic (and with the way she's playing, that'll be a lot of players) won't have to deal with the questions anymore. She says she's retiring the dance.