What will Maria do? Win I hope

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 5, 2014

Gliding across the clay court at Roland Garros, Maria Sharapova needed to win just one game.

Down 4-0 in the first set to Garbine Muguruza Blanco on Tuesday, the Russian fought back to win the second and third sets 7-5, 6-1 after falling in the first to advance to the French Open semifinals, which are slated to be played today.

Sharapova is playing Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, a 19-year-old who beat Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-5.

According to reports, Bouchard is ranked 16th in singles action, while Sharapova is No. 8.

I’ve always liked watching Sharapova play.

While I try to not pay attention to her grunts when hitting the tennis ball across court, Sharapova plays with a certain grace and ferocity that befits a competitor that’s been at this stage before.

She has won four major titles — Wimbledon in 2004, the U.S. Open in 2006, the Australian Open in 2008 and the French in 2012.

Sharapova has always been a contender at majors lately, but hasn’t found a way to close the door.

Two years later, I believe that Sharapova can win the French Open this year and walk through that door unscathed.

Now, I may be wrong because looking ahead, she will have to get past Bouchard and then face the winner of Sara Errani-Andrea Petkovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova-Simona Halep in the finals.

A big key for Sharapova today is to get off to a good start against Bouchard.

In her three-set (in women’s singles, players need only win two sets to win the match) Sharapova had a slow start and bounced back. She doesn’t need to do this against Bouchard, who is turning a lot of heads at the tournament in Paris.

It should be noted that Sharapova had to fight back from falling in the first set during the fourth round over Samantha Stosur of Australia, too.

There’s something about this year’s tournament for the Russian that I believe will favor her in the end.

I just hope she’s the only one left standing on the red clay on Saturday, biting the French Open trophy with bulbs a flashing on the soon-to-be five-time major winner.

All French Open action can be viewed on TV on ESPN’s networks.