Maria: Japanese trainer can help me win title

Jun 07, 2012, 09:19 IST | AFP

Maria Sharapova believes the inspiration of a Japanese trainer can propel her to a first French Open title, a career Grand Slam and a return to the world number one spot

The Russian world number two, who takes on Czech fourth seed Petra Kvitova in today’s semi-finals at Roland Garros, has credited Yutaka Nakamura for helping boost her claycourt confidence and comfort.

“I work with a Japanese trainer that I’ve known for a long time, a physical trainer from Florida. He was in Australia for a few years and now he came back to the States, so I started working with him in the off-season a little bit here and there,” said Sharapova after her 6-2, 6-3 win over Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi yesterday.

Maria Sharapova celebrates her win over Kaia Kanepi in the French Open QF yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

“I’ll see him again after here. It’s been nice to have him.”

Nakamura, says Sharapova, has helped tweak the way she moves on clay, always a test for a woman standing at an imposing 1.88m. “There are a few different movements on clay with the sliding and the recovering and getting back into the point which you work on, but I think it's just a general sense of movement.”

Kvitova in semis
Meanwhile, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic reached the semi-finals yesterday with a hard-earned 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan.

“Every point that we played was really tough,” Kvitova said after beating Shvedova, who was ahead 4-2 in the third set when the Czech turned the match around.

Semi-final line-up
>> Samantha Stosur vs Sara Errani
Head-to-head: Stosur leads 5-0

>> Petra Kvitova vs Maria Sharapova
Head-to-head: Sharapova leads 3-2 

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