Just when you think you think you’ve seen it all, tennis has the ways and means to always surprise and amaze. Earlier this evening in Cincinnati at the U.S. Open Series Western & Southern Open, the second women’s semifinal took place between 11th ranked Ana Ivanovic (my favorite tennis player) and 6th ranked Maria Sharapova and through the years as an avid tennis fan I’ve witnessed countless drama filled matches and you always remember the special ones, tonight’s was one such event! The winner here would go on to face Serina Williams in the final which is set for 2 pm EST tomorrow and if you’ve been visiting here for awhile then you most likely know that I’m a really big fan of both Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova so this meeting which was just their fifth on a hard court had the potential to be very special and it didn’t disappoint. Sharapova had led 4-0 on hard courts for their career meetings with Ivanovic most recently defeating Sharapova on clay in a meeting I think was in Rome.
In a match which was nearing three hours, let me set the stage for the final games of the match which are in the video clip just below. To begin this roller coaster of a match, Ana Ivanovic absolutely was having her way with Sharapova for nearly two sets straight right from the onset of the match as she could do no wrong firing winners off her lethal forehand side, returning Sharapova’s serves with ferocity as she was seeing the ball very early and just dominating without question moving Sharapova all around the court as Ivanovic had rolled to a one set and a 4-love lead at that point of the match (6-2, 4-0). As the second set continued and with the score then at 5-3 in Ana’s favor, Ana Ivanovic would actually serve for the match, however Sharapova whom appeared to be at the brink of defeat did what she’s best known for and that is fight and administer yet another comeback for the ages. Sharapova would go on to break Ivanovic multiple times and go on to winning the second set 7-5 and if you were watching this live it was nothing short of a surreal out of body experience as nothing up until this point of the match had any realistic indication that Sharapova had any chance of coming back from being just dominated by Ivanovic.
Okay but here’s where it gets really interesting.
With Sharapova leading in the third and deciding set up 4-3 and clearly in command as Ivanovic and her game had begun to crumble, Sharapova was then broken and promptly afterward asks the chair umpire to go check Ana Ivanovic’s blood pressure as she is clearly irritated. You see earlier in the match at a critically momentous stage, Ivanovic after a seemingly normal point suddenly began bending over in discomfort and needed to be seen by the trainer and medical personnel on court. It was later revealed in her interview that she had been suffering from nausea brought on by the high humidity. The medical staff had been checking Ana’s blood pressure on court with a clearly irritated Sharapova waiting and looking on.
And while Sharapova would sarcastically make reference to Ivanovic’s medical time out which may or may not have swung the momentum, not once but twice…. by asking loudly and clearly to the chair umpire to go check Ana’s blood pressure after Ana had won the previous point, wait there’s more to this possibly much more tense rivalry or dislike between the two which I had never been aware of until today…I mean bad blood between them? I never imagined. You see Sharapova’s current coach used to be Ivanovic’s coach and for quite a long time into her career, so with that familiarity this coach knows everything there is to know about Ivanovic’s game and personality you have to believe. Even between games during a rest period, Sharapova’s coach is heard telling her that ‘….you’re playing Ana Ivanovic….you’re playing Ana Ivanovic…” in reference to how much more of an accomplished career she has had and I also took it to perhaps be also a reference to Ana’s well documented fragile mentality during matches in her past and how Sharapova is ‘better’ than her.
So you have the coaching triangle drama, the medical time out Ivanovic took which continued to irk Sharapova throughout the entirety of the remainder of the match and of course you also have Blood-Pressure-Gate to throw into this drama and momentum swung match =O.
Oh, and of course there’s also lots of edge of your seat tennis being played with some incredible shot making going on. So, you wanna watch? =)
(And on a side note: the point of the match occurs @ 10:50 but the drama never stops in this one all the way to the icy cold handshake, enjoy!)
~Ana Ivanovic vs. Maria Sharapova (semifinal)~
August 16th, 2014
U.S. Open Series Western & Southern Open
This clip begins late in the third set with Sharapova serving at match point and continues through the complete conclusion of the match including the post match interview on court and just think at one point Ivanovic was leading by a set and 4-0 so for Sharapova to now be actually herself serving for this match was unbelievable.