Google Down the Line!: THE LOW DOWN: Maria & Serena look to recapture early season magic

Monday, October 8, 2007

THE LOW DOWN: Maria & Serena look to recapture early season magic

A tale of two seasons: When the 2007 tennis season began, Maria "Shriek"apova was the reigning US Open champion on the brink of becoming the World No.1. Serena "ReRe" Williams was coming off a mostly inactive 2006 and looking to get her career back on track. These 2 champions worked through their respective Australian Open draws and met in a much-anticipated final with a shocking result: ReRe demolished Maria for the title, 6-1, 6-2. Regardless, they established themselves as the players to beat after the first Grand Slam of the season.

Fast foward to the Fall indoor European season - Maria lost her US Open crown to a relative newcomer in the 3rd round and, sitting at No. 4 in the world, was rumored to be retiring for the season to rest her sore shoulder. ReRe was beaten handily by Justine Henin in the quarterfinals of the Open and last week suffered a disappointing 6-3, 6-3 loss to Svetlana Kuznetsova at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Both players are competing at this week's Kremlin Cup, a Tier 1 in Moscow, Russia. A win here could help build some confidence for both women going into the Sony Ericsson Championships and 2008.

Maria had this to say at a press conference for the Kremlin Cup this week:

"I have been training in a normal regime and I am physically 100 % fit [...] But for me the main thing is health. I am 20 years and I have a long career ahead of me". [...] I have been spending more time in Moscow than at home lately [...] It was great to be here and see our girls to win the Fed Cup."

ReRe also spoke to the press and had this to say:

"I am happy to come to Moscow - I was here way back when so now it feels like it's my first time here" [...] "The surface of the court is kind of weird [...] It is rather slow and the ball bounce is sometimes high, sometime low, it is kind of unusual for me because indoor courts are typically faster. The tournament in Moscow has a strong draw - but I feel fit and am ready to fight for the victory."

(source, images courtesy of AP Photo)

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