Sharapova becomes 'Ms Near Miss' with another near miss | india | Hindustan Times
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Sharapova becomes 'Ms Near Miss' with another near miss

india Updated: Jul 07, 2006 17:11 IST
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When Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004, the Russian golden girl borrowed her father's mobile phone to share her Grand Slam breakthrough with her mother.

She couldn't get a signal that day and ever since, her dreams of similar triumphs have also failed to make a connection.

In 2005, she fell in the semi-finals of the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open as well as the last eight at Roland Garros.

This year, it's been a similar tale of woe with a semi-final defeat in Melbourne, a fourth round exit in the French Open before another heartbreaking semi-final, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 defeat here to Amelie Mauresmo on Thursday.

But the game's golden girl insists that her 2004 Wimbledon win will not remain her only Grand Slam triumph. "It's not a mental block," said the 19-year-old.

"Nothing which happened today or in my previous matches has anything to do with the mental side."

But the evidence is damning. After convincingly beating Serena Williams in the 2004 final here to become the second youngest Wimbledon champion, it's been near-miss after near-miss for Sharapova.

At the Australian Open in 2005, she squandered a first set lead to lose in three to Williams in the semi-finals before her title defence here was ended by Venus Williams, also in the last four.

Then she lost in three sets to eventual champion Kim Clijsters in the semi-finals of the US Open.

Back to Melbourne this year, Sharapova had a set lead against Justine Henin-Hardenne in the semi-finals before the Belgian battled back to win in three.

"When I lost to Justine in Melbourne, I was very physical but she was a lot fresher in the third set," said Sharapova.

"Against Amelie here it was just a few errors here and there in the beginning of the third set when I had the momentum going. I made a few unforced errors when I shouldn't have made them."

Sharapova will now take a short break, go shopping London before heading back to America to prepare for the US Open.

"Every loss teaches me a lot," she said. "Theres's a lot of things I need to improve to beat the top players.

"That will involve a lot of practice, lots of work on my volleys, on my fitness. But I will always have chances no matter how good or bad my opponent is. I have to go out there and do it. Sometimes talk is cheap. In a few days, I'll be back on the practice courts and that's what it's all about."

"I want to win the US Open, that's my next goal."

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