Serena vs. Maria, XXII

Tonight, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova face off for the 22nd time in their careers. No doubt you already know that Serena hasn’t lost to Maria since 2004 and enjoys an impressive 19-2 record against the Russian.

The last time Serena played in Flushing Meadows, things got a little heated. Let’s not revisit that unfortunate episode, since I’m sure we’ll be hearing about it ad nauseum from the television commentators. Suffice it to say that Serena will be feeling even more determined to win the title this year.

I’ve always admired Sharapova’s steeliness. If it were me, I’d probably fake a cold and stay home rather than walk out for yet another beatdown in front of millions of viewers. (This resolve may have something to do with why she has five Slam titles and I don’t have any titles, of any sort.)

Serena hasn’t been invincible since her post-baby return to the tour. In fact, she hasn’t won a single title yet. On the other hand, Maria has had a rough year, and Serena does relish beating her.

Is there anyone picking Maria to win this opening-round match? I’m not. And the odds-makers aren’t, either. At least, I don’t think they are. One online betting site puts the odds at -310 for Serena and +250 for Sharapova. I don’t actually know what that means, but I’m sure it’s not in Maria’s favor. Can any gamblers out there explain it?

The more interesting questions about this match are 1) how many games Maria will manage to win, and 2) whether Serena goes on to take the title this year.

Wouldn’t it be fun if this were a betting site? Alas, that’s beyond my blogging skill set. But we can still vote in the polls below. And I’ll make this little wager with myself: If Maria wins more than six games tonight, I’ll eat something disgusting. Maybe a large raw tomato, including all the seeds and gelatinous goo. Blech.



Friday Fashion Face-Off: Australian Open Worst-Dressed Award

The trophies have been awarded and the giant checks cashed, but we’re not done with the Australian Open yet. Today we recognize the worst of the worst in an overall fashion-challenged Slam. Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-Off: Australian Open Worst-Dressed Award”

Friday Fashion Face-off: The Halloween Edition

Scary movies, candy, and the color orange make Halloween just about the perfect holiday. (Christmas still rules, thanks to the lights and the Chipmunks’ song, but Halloween runs a very close second.) Continue reading “Friday Fashion Face-off: The Halloween Edition”

The Art of the Non-Answer

Here’s something interesting I noticed during this year’s U.S. Open. When the younger pros walk down the stadium corridor and stop for the pre-match interview, they listen to the question and respond appropriately. The more experienced player? Not so much. Continue reading “The Art of the Non-Answer”

Ritual and Superstition

Bring up a mental image of Maria Sharapova when she’s in between points. What’s she doing? If you watch enough professional tennis, you know she has her back turned to the court and she’s fiddling with her racquet strings.

And Rafael Nadal before he serves? Even casual tennis fans are familiar with his elaborate pre-serve choreography–a tug on the shorts followed by an unvarying sequence of touches (left shoulder, right shoulder, nose, left ear, nose, right ear.)

What’s the point of these quirks? Are they just silly superstition? Continue reading “Ritual and Superstition”

A Review of Sugarpova

As a blog writer, I enjoy incredible perks. A platform for writing whatever I want. An excuse to watch even more tennis than I otherwise would. Free tennis gear that companies want me to review.

Yeah, that last one hasn’t happened yet. (Hey, Nike! Send me some free stuff and I promise to can the snark about your Smurf clothes!)

While I wait for the swag to start rolling in, I’ll review cheap stuff I can afford to buy myself, starting with Maria Sharapova’s candy line, Sugarpova. Continue reading “A Review of Sugarpova”

The Friday Fashion Face-off Best-Dressed Woman Award

The men’s and women’s tours may have migrated to grass, but here at LittleYellowBall, we’re still knee-deep in the clay. Today we’re voting on the ladies of the French Open. Continue reading “The Friday Fashion Face-off Best-Dressed Woman Award”

A Quickie Poll: Will Maria Beat Serena Tomorrow???

In my recent post about Sharapova, I said she’d never beat Serena. (Well, of course, she has beaten her twice…but the last time was fourteen years ago!)

I wasn’t expecting Sharapova to get another crack at it so soon. The two career-slammers will meet tomorrow in the fourth round of the French Open. Sharapova looked sharp in her demolition of Pliskova yesterday…but Pliskova also looked uninspired and flat throughout the match.

Whatever happens tomorrow, we know Serena’s going to be gunning to win. Serena’s looking impressive but still seems a step slower than her old self. If Maria’s ever going to save some face, now would be the time. Continue reading “A Quickie Poll: Will Maria Beat Serena Tomorrow???”

My Guilty-Pleasure Player

I had a post all written for today–a strategic analysis of the “serve or receive” question. But interesting things are always happening in the tennis world, and now you’ll have to wait until Monday for my serve/receive post.

What caught my eye this morning was this article on about Maria Sharapova asking Rafael Nadal to hit some balls with her at the Italian Open. Of course Rafa said yes. He’s just that kind of guy. Continue reading “My Guilty-Pleasure Player”

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