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“Even the stands supported me.” The Russian took the historic title in Miami in 2006

Date: July 23, 2024 Time: 03:10:49

The Miami Masters is one of the least successful tournaments for Russian tennis players. Only Maria Sharapova lost five times in the final of the thousandth in Florida. In addition, Anna Kournikova, Elena Dementyeva and Svetlana Kuznetsova lost the decisive match.

And yet, Russia has a title in Miami. There was no chance of being left without him, since in the 2006 Masters final, Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated her compatriot Maria Sharapova (6-4, 6-3). Let’s remember how it was.

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The entry of the 18-year-old Sharapova into the final of the Miami Masters in 2006 was not a huge surprise. Maria, being so young, managed to win her first Grand Slam tournament at Wimbledon 2004, and a year later she became the first racket in the world. She was seeded fourth in Florida. France’s Amelie Mauresmo, Belgian Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne ranked higher, but overall they were roughly at the level of Sharapova, who had just won the title at Indian Wells (beating Elena Dementieva in the decider) and was aspiring to victory. Double sunny in Florida. On her way to the final in Miami, she defeated China’s Li Na, Italy’s Maria-Elena Camerin, Russia’s Maria Kirilenko and Anastasia Myskina, and France’s Tatyana Golovin.

20-year-old Kuznetsova also had the status of TBS champion (she won the US Open – 2004). However, few expected to see her in the final in Miami in 2006. Svetlana was going through a not very successful period in her career. She was seeded number 12 and has not won a WTA tournament since September 2004, when she won the cup in Bali. But Kuznetsova surprised many tennis fans. She went through a very difficult group, eliminating Russia’s Vera Zvonareva, Switzerland’s Martina Hingis and Patty Schnyder, Japan’s Ai Sugiyama and world number one Amelie Mauresmo.

Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova during the Miami Masters final in 2006

Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

We can say that Kuznetsova returned to her former dominant form, although in the final a slight preference was still given to Sharapova. Maria was in excellent form, winning 11 matches in a row in March at the Solar Double tournaments. Although it’s important to note that Kuznetsova skipped Indian Wells and purposely prepared for Miami. Svetlana retained more freshness. This ultimately affected the outcome of the final.

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The fate of the first set was decided in the fourth game when Kuznetsova made a break. During the opening match, Sharapova seemed quite tired. Maria also got nervous because of her distraction. A small plane with advertising signs flew over the Florida courthouse. Sharapova was infuriated by the noise she made. She claimed that the plane circled 50 times over the courthouse and demanded the judge “eliminate” the intrusion.

In the end, Maria’s wishes were conveyed to the organizers and in the second half of the match the strange device stopped flying over the sand. However, this did not help Sharapova turn the tide of the game. He made a surprising number of unforced errors; even his signature forehand was missed, at best, from time to time. At the same time, Kuznetsova acted aggressively and accurately, moving more actively on the court. Svetlana took the second set and the match easily 6:4, 6:3.

“I didn’t expect such an easy victory today. Although you can’t imagine how much I wanted to win this title. But everything turned out great. Even the stands were supporting me, which is really strange when Maria Sharapova is on the other side of the court,” Kuznetsova said after the match.

Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova after the final of the Miami Masters in 2006

Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The victory allowed Svetlana to return to the top 10 of the WTA rankings, pushing Venus Williams to 11th position. Kuznetsova received a respectable prize money of $533,000, but the main thing is that she managed to restart her career and win a major title after a certain crisis in the 2005 season.

“Physically today it was very difficult to keep up with Svetlana. She just couldn’t keep up and that was the key. Of course, I felt a little tired, but that’s normal after four straight weeks of playing. I mean, I shouldn’t feel good in these conditions. This is absolutely normal. But in the end I lost. Everything’s fine. I wasn’t upset. You are welcome. I’m happy because my performance was incredible. 11 wins in a row, three finals in a row. It’s a pretty stable result,” Sharapova explained of her defeat.

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Sharapova was not upset about not having made the Double Sol. Maria probably thought she would conquer this achievement in the future, but the Florida Masters she never won, despite having reached the final five times. A similar situation is observed with ATP Tour legend Rafael Nadal, who lost the same number of times in decisive matches against Miami and did not take titles here. Sharapova is unlikely to have many regrets about this. That 2006 season saw her win her second Slam at the US Open and also win the 1000 in San Diego and Zurich, continuing to cement her reputation as one of the top women’s tennis superstars in recent history.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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