Three-time Grand Slam singles title holder Maria Sharapova has been struggling for form since winning her last Grand Slam title in Australian Open 2008. Since that success, the Russian could not even reach any grand slam semi finals.
Now, her fans are expecting a strong return in the US Open 2010, but the question is: does Sharapova really stand a chance in the US Open 2010 starting from 30 August.
Comparison with compatriot Ana Kournikova started since Sharapova turned professional in 2001 mainly because of her physical beauty. However, unlike Kournikova, Sharapova has already shown enough talent and potential on the court, and thus, dismissing all those claims that she was also going Kournikova’s way.
Maria Sharapova clinched her first Grand Slam title in Wimbledon 2004 at the age of 17, defeating the then World no. 1 Serena Williams in the final. Just two years later, she won the 2006 US Open title defeating second seed Justine Henin in the final. Her third Grand Slam title came two years later too when she defeated fourth seed Ana Ivanovic in the final of Australian Open 2008. Since then, 10 Grand Slam tournaments passed, but the Russian beauty could not show any more dominance on the circuit.
There are at least two reasons behind her fall. First of all, Sharapova suffered a very bad shoulder injury that restricted her from participating in the US Open 2008 and Australian Open 2009. Immediate after winning the Australian Open 2008, Sharapova was agonizingly knocked out from the fourth round of French Open 2008 by the eventual finalist Dinara Safina.
Secondly, Sharapova these days has become very busy with her out of court activities like modeling and promoting products of her sponsors. That is in evident in her performances since her return from injury lay-off.
Her first Grand Slam tournament after returning from injury was French Open 2009 where she lost to a lesser known opponent Dominika Cibulková at the quarter final, which was followed by a second round exit in
Maria Sharapova’s poor form continued in 2010 too as she started with another shocking exit in the Australian Open where she lost to Maria Kirilenko in the first round. She managed to reach the third round in French Open, but eventually lost to Justine Henin. Wimbledon 2010 was slightly better as she reached the fourth round before losing to the eventual champion Serena Williams.
Overall, it is pretty much clear that Maria Sharapova has been going through a poor run over the last couple of years. Now, if she wants a strong come back in the US Open, she must make considerable improvement on her recent performances and concentrate more on her game.
Interestingly, Sharapova fans can claim that she is favorite to win the US Open 2010 title as she has been winning Grand Slam titles after every two years. After 20008, this is the year Sharapova should win her fourth Grand Slam singles title.