For Maria Sharapova, it's a pre-serve ritual involving her hair, a stare, two bounces of the ball, and a scream. She hasn't lost a set on her way to Saturday's finals in the Cellular South Cup.
For Andy Roddick, the difference between beating Sam Querrey last week and losing to him Friday night in the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships was a double fault, a missed forehand, a close line call, and a smashed racquet in the second game of the third set. He was serving at the time and blew a 40-15 lead. Five games later he was whipped.
"I definitely got lucky in that game when he double-faulted," said Querrey. "I'm not going to get that too many times but I'll take it."
After the double fault, Roddick complained about a close call on the sideline, then smashed his racquet in disgust when he lost the game.
"I played one sloppy game in the third set," he said. "At this level you can't have that."
Roddick called it an "irresponsible game." Querrey said he played "an unbelievable third set." I like him to win both the singles and the doubles with John Isner, making him the first double champion in pro tournament in a while.
Sharapova looks unbeatable now that her shoulder has healed and her serve is back. For the record, here's Sharapova's recipe: turn back to net, look at racquet, fiddle with strings, bounce ball once with hand and twice with racquet, brush hair back behind ear, stare down opponent, bounce ball two more times, toss ball high and scream. Serve hot.