Niculescu 4-6 6-4 6-3 Sharapova – How a strong performance quickly turned unnecessarily messy!

When you say the name Monica Niculescu you know what you are going to get. That slice shot is one of the unique shots in the game and for the first set and a half Maria Sharapova played what I would describe as a fast, dominate and strong performance against the Romanian and then mid-way during the second set it turned into a mess.

The very loose game at 4-5 in set two took it to a third set decider where she looked rattled by Niculescu who seemed to get into her head.

Sharapova stopped producing pace and it became slow off the racket and Monica doesn’t need an invitation cause trouble. She can keep the ball low with spin off the sliced forehand and can quickly pull off a solid backhand as well.

Sharapova started to try and imitate and it wasn’t great viewing at all, here is just one moment in the third set…

sharpova slice..

Image Credit – BT Sport

You can see above it got messy. Sharapova went for a slice off the low shot but produced a lot of height, Monica sent it back with interest leaving the Russian scampering to the ball which she did make only for the Romanian to knock the backhand winner past her.

This is the other one…

sharapova bh.png

Image Credit – BT Sport

I didn’t get to see the match live but watching it back my first thought was ‘oh dear’ as I just saw what was coming. Maria up until this point played a very good point and then this happened. She made it easy going down the line and if anything a lack of trust or nerves got into her game for this to happen.

Unsurprisingly Sharapova lost this shot and Monica went on to serve out the match to love untroubled.

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