At the end of the 2013 Sony Open final, the television crew, which included Mary Jo Fernandez and Mary Carillo, called it a “great final”. Ok, it went 3 sets, but with all due respect while parts of the final were great, I cannot agree. Yes, Maria Sharapova pushed Serena to a 3rd set and didn’t get run off the court early. But I think the reason they called it great was because their clear favorite, Serena, played great and won in 3. But let’s take a closer look at that 4-6 6-3 6-0 Serena win. Masha opened up by attacking Serena’s forehand, causing a lot of early unforced errors. Sharapova also didn’t commit a lot of mistakes herself, especially on serve. But from being up 3-2 in the second set, Masha fell apart while Serena cleaned up her game. It’s difficult for me to call a 3 set match truly great when one player wins the last 10 games and bagels their opponent in the final set. 3 set matches that end in a bagel 6-0 set are not completely great, while they can have parts that are. For all the improvements Masha made to her game against Serena, she still got blitzed in lopsided fashion in the final 10 games. Maybe Sharapova leaves Miami with a little more confidence for her next match against Williams. Still, she was overwhelmed at the end. I can’t think Serena is very worried at all about Masha until Sharapova truly beats her or takes her to the brink.
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