Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sports

Sharapova wings it, wins

PARIS — On days like these, when so little goes right and so much goes awry, Maria Sharapova tosses away the strategies and scouting reports her coach devises and, well, does whatever it takes to win.

Locked in a three-set, three-hour struggle at a wet, windy French Open on Monday, Sharapova's right, racket-swinging wrist was aching. And that, she insisted, was the least of her problems.

There was the tumble to her backside Sharapova laughed about later. The exasperating line calls and what the second seed considered an obstinate chair umpire. Her 12 double faults, plus 41 other errors. The nine breaks she allowed, including three while serving for the match. The unseeded foe who wouldn't go away.

"It was," Sharapova summed up, "a good test for me."

After dropping a total of five games in three matches that averaged less than an hour each, Sharapova moved into the quarterfinals at the only Grand Slam tournament she hasn't won by dispensing with tactics and swinging away until she pulled out a 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 victory over 44th-ranked Klara Zakopalova.

"I'm useless with game plans. That's probably the one thing (coach Thomas Hogstedt) just gets so frustrated with me about," Sharapova said. "I go out there, and I do my own thing, and then he's like … 'Really? What's the point? … What's the point of having me?' But I apologized when I hired him, in advance, so he's okay."

Sharapova said she jammed her wrist on a service return, "but … nothing to worry about."

As for her second-set stumble, Sharapova chuckled and said: "That was my first fall of the clay season, which is the biggest shocker. I usually have a few before the French Open."

She was less amused by the work of chair umpire Julie Kjendlie of Norway, engaging in a couple of extended arguments about rulings.

"The first one was the most questionable one, I guess, because she couldn't find the mark. … What do you say to that? You can't find the mark? It was like, 'Well, isn't that your job?' … I mean, we're on clay courts. Usually when there is no mark, it means it's on the line. She had an answer for everything out there."

Sharapova now has one thing in common with every woman left: None has won the French Open.

Defending champion Li Na, seeded seventh, was ousted by qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova 3-6, 6-2, 6-0. Sharapova's next opponent, No. 23 Kaia Kanepi, hasn't been beyond the quarterfinals at any Grand Slam but got to that round for the fourth time by defeating unseeded Arantxa Rus 6-1, 4-6, 6-0.

Rafael Nadal's pursuit of a record seventh French Open title rolled on with another rout, 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 over 13th-seeded Juan Monaco. Nadal is 49-1 for his career at the French Open.

Comments
Brent Honeywell injury could be worst Rays news yet

Brent Honeywell injury could be worst Rays news yet

PORT CHARLOTTE – It may have seemed that things couldn't get worse for the Rays after an opening week of spring training that included the dumping of two veterans to harshly negative reviews including from their own players, the trade of the te...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning nearing end of road-heavy stretch

Lightning nearing end of road-heavy stretch

OTTAWA – The last time the Lightning played in Ottawa, back in early January, it was one of the team's worst games of the season.Coach Jon Cooper delivered a damning opening statement in his post-game press conference – saying "entitlemen...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

You can bet there were many Lightning fans that hoped Senators superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson jumped on Tampa Bay's bus post-game Thursday night.Karlsson, 27, Ottawa's two-time Norris Trophy winner, is the biggest prize leading up to Monday's tra...
Updated: 1 hour ago

How the Rays’ DFA of Dickerson paid off, with a reliever and a prospect from Pirates

PORT CHARLOTTE – The Rays' surprising and controversial decision to designate for assignment 2017 All-Star OF/DH Corey Dickerson to prompt a trade paid off Thursday in a deal with the Pirates.Assuming you consider it a good return to get vetera...
Updated: 2 hours ago
USA women’s hockey gives us a night to remember

USA women’s hockey gives us a night to remember

Our team.They're Americans, yes. But they are more than that.They're one of us. Adopted Floridians. Honorary members of Tampa Bay.And they gave us the signature moment of the Winter Olympics.USA! USA! USA!In the greatest moment in American hockey sin...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs sign ex-New Hampshire RB Dalton Crossan

Bucs sign ex-New Hampshire RB Dalton Crossan

February signings in the NFL usually face long odds to stick on rosters in the fall, but the Bucs added to their running back depth on Thursday, signing former New Hampshire star Dalton Crossan.Crossan, who turns 24 on Sunday, went to training camp l...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Police: DeSean Jackson’s former Eagles teammate drove truck found wrecked with bullets, marijuana inside

Police: DeSean Jackson’s former Eagles teammate drove truck found wrecked with bullets, marijuana inside

TAMPA  — With no witnesses and no video evidence, Tampa Police have stopped investigating a case from Christmas Eve that had a truck belonging to Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson found wrecked and abandoned in a mall parking lot with hollow-po...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays find taker for Corey Dickerson, get Daniel Hudson, prospect from Pirates

Rays find taker for Corey Dickerson, get Daniel Hudson, prospect from Pirates

The Rays found a taker for OF/DH Corey Dickerson, trading him Thursday to the Pirates for veteran reliever Daniel Hudson, minor-league INF Tristan Gray and $1-million cash.Hudson, 30, will compete for a spot in the Rays bullpen, coming off a rou...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Gators’ Larry Scott on Miami, ‘that other school down south’

Gators’ Larry Scott on Miami, ‘that other school down south’

GAINESVILLE — Tight ends coach Larry Scott hasn't even been with the Gators for a month, but he already understands the state's rivalries well.The former Miami interim coach referred to his old program as "that other school down south" during h...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Riverview to host Angela Slater softball tournament this weekend

Riverview to host Angela Slater softball tournament this weekend

Riverview High will host the inaugural Angela Slater Kick-Off Softball Classic, a 16-team tournament that starts Thursday and ends Saturday.The tournament is named in honor of the former Sharks softball coach who died in 2016 after a year-long battle...
Updated: 7 hours ago