Maria Sharapova won her first title in seventeen months by winning the Toray Pan Pacific event in Tokyo. Sharapova won 5-2 (r) after her opponent Jelena Jankovic had to retire after suffering a right arm injury.
Sharapova survived a carnage filled event that saw most of the top seeds drop out early and it will be a big boost to her confidence after an up and down year plagued mostly by double faults galore due to her new service motion to help compensate her recent shoulder surgery.
Depending on her last few tournaments, Sharapova should find herself just outside the top 20 at the start of 2010. In most of her interviews she has always expressed her renewed delight of playing before fans and obviously will go into the next year as a dangerous opponent so long as she keeps her serving errors to a minimum.
Can Sharapova challenge for a Slam next year or get back to the top ten? It’s hard to say but with the current up and down play of the top players in the tour anything is possible. Let me know what you think is in the cards for Maria in 2010.