Sharapova struggling to regain form


AUCKLAND – Maria Sharapova, reputedly the world’s best-paid sportswoman, underlined her commercial pulling power at the Auckland Classic with her presence helping to effectively sell out the entire tournament — something that had never happened before. But the former world number one’s decision to shake-up her normal Australian Open preparations by playing in New Zealand left few who saw her in any doubt.
She was nowhere near the same level she was when she captured her last grand slam title at Melbourne Park in 2008. Given the field included former world number one Dinara Safina, two-time grand slam title winner Sveltana Kuznetsova and champion Yanina Wickmayer, Sharapova could have expected to have been tested at least once during the week.As it turned out, she was tested each and every time she took to the newly laid blue courts in central Auckland. Naturally aggressive with powerful groundstrokes she often sprayed her shots wide and long, struggled with her timing and it was apparent her serve was lacking in accuracy and power.