Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sharapova back on Grand Slam Track

Having endured a frustrating August, Maria Sharapova is now back on track to reclaim her title as queen of the tennis circuit, after bypassing Melinda Czink in the first round of the US Open.

Sharapova, who won the Grand Slam title in 2006, saw off her opponent 6-2 6-2 to end a spell of absence from the sport, after a mystery stomach bug kept her away from pre-Slam warm up tournaments.

The clinical nature of her victory over 29-year-old Czink will come as a great relief for the Russian, in a match few thought would be over as quickly as it was.

Sharapova has been out of action since her 0-6 1-6 final defeat to Serena Williams at the Olympic Games, earlier this month, and is not expected to make huge headways in New York.

Her performance at SW19 that day was far from the standard expected by fans betting on tennis, with Sharapova unable to offer anything but weak returns and wayward serves against a merciless Williams.

Pundits and fans alike were left reeling as to how the Russian had gone from predator in her semi-final against Maria Kirilenko to wounded prey when up against Williams.

Days later, and the Russian pulled out of Montreal, before confirming she would not take any part in the Cincinnati Masters, ruining her hard-court preparation for Flushing Meadows.

Only just back in action, Sharapova looked at ease once more against Czink and will look to progress at least to the second week of this season’s final Grand Slam. The only two obstacles between her and a semi-final berth are Marion Bartoli or Petra Kvitová, both of whom more than capable of breaking the 25-year-old.

The former queen of Flushing Meadows must therefore hope that these early rounds don’t put too much strain on her fitness if she is to stage an attack on the US Open crown.

The US Open 2012 tips website is expecting Serena Williams to dominate the field in New York.

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