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Style Seeds: Queens of Nike (Serena Vs. Maria)

Round two of Style Seeds pits the tennis world’s top two women for the title of Nike Queen. Who will reign victorious?

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| Brisbane |

The new year kicked off strong for World No. 1 Serena Williams. She swept to her first title of the season at the Brisbane International, defeating Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka en route to claim the first of her seven in 2014. Kitted out in last season’s two-piece in shades of lilac and orange, Serena looked every inch the Australian Open contender.

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Sharapova played her first match down under after a four month hiatus due to a second shoulder procedure. Although missing the US Open and WTA Finals, Sharapova found her footing all the way into the semifinals where she bowed out to long-time nemesis, Serena Williams. Sharapova’s fuchsia tank and swirl-striped skirt, however, added a fresh color burst to the blue-on-blue courts of the Brisbane International.

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| Australian Open – Dubai – Paris |

It was Serena’s turn to sport shades of pink at the Australian Open. In what can only be described as a “Playboy Bunny” color scheme – bubblegum and black – Serena’s Slam dress incorporated clever waist cinching detail thanks to strategically placed panels. We’re used to seeing Serena in this type of A-line V-necked silhouette, but as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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Ever the fashion maverick, Sharapova debuted a unique tunic style dress for the first Slam of the season, paired with more questionable striped compression shorts. Sharapova’s glacier ice A-line tunic suited her lithe frame perfectly, and Nike’s interesting take on the standard tennis visor, here in a duel color-scheme to match Sharapova’s outfit, was a highly coveted piece from the spring collection.

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| Indian Wells |

Sharapova adopted the tank silhouette and skirt print from the Australian Open for her appearance at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. And what an appearance it was; the defending champion lasted just one match before a surprising three-set defeat to then-No. 79 Camilla Giorgi of Italy. Sharapova hit many errors that day. Luckily for her, Nike did not.

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| Miami |

Serena claimed her second title of the season in her backyard tournament at the Miami Open, defeating Australian Open champion Na Li in the final. Nike designed a bespoke dress with a Miami Dolphins colorway for the top seed, who co-owns the NFL team. As for the above image, she’s doing the splits and still looking fabulous. Of course I had to include it.

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The Maria Sharapova signature tank made a third appearance in Miami, this time in a zingy yellow colorway paired with a graphic black and white striped skirt.

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| Charleston – Stuttgart – Madrid – Rome |

The clay swing leading to the French Open saw Serena in figure hugging separates in a sleek charcoal and black color scheme with a feature empire line ribbon in gold. Though she was upset early at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston and gave a walkover in the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open, Williams claimed her third title of the season in Rome at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia gaining revenge on her Australian Open conqueror, Ana Ivanovic, and obliterating 2012 Roland Garros finalist Sara Errani in the final with the loss of just three games.

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Sharapova compiled a 19-1 record during the clay swing. Claypova, as we’ve come to call her, claimed her first title of the season at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, marking the first three-peat tournament in her career, following victories in 2012 and 2013. She went on to claim the Mutua Madrid Open crown, defeating Simona Halep in an up-and-down three-setter before a surprising loss to Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL D’Italia in Rome. Sharapova’s separates in a spring palette of lilac and peach complete with pleated grey skirt made for a chic – and lucky – outfit for the Queen of Clay.

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| Roland Garros |

Defending champion Serena bowed out in a shocking straight sets loss to No. 35 Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza in the second round of Roland Garros. The dirt has never been too kind to the American over the past decade, but where she lacked in on-court skill, she made up for in stylistic prowess. Serena debuted a handkerchief tiered dress from Nike in a cool lemon and pinstripe grey colorway, a shape similar to that of her US Open 2013 garment – and just as unmanageable in the wind.

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Sharapova claimed her second Roland Garros and overall fifth Grand Slam crown under the cloudy skies of Paris. FACTOID: the victory marked the first time she had won a Slam without wearing black or white, this year in a perforated pale pink and neon orange number complete with (you guessed it) matching compression shorts and a duo-tone visor. Against an inspired Simona Halep, a match-up previously played out at Madrid just a few weeks prior, Sharapova battled tooth and nail to claim her victory in a final touted as one of the best matches of the year.

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| Wimbledon |

Nike incorporated the handkerchief shape of Serena’s Roland Garros dress for the pristine lawns of the All England Club. Outfitted in all white with alternating opaque pinstripes, the Wimbledon Queen was upset in the third round against Alizé Cornet – the first woman to defeat Williams twice in a row since Nadia Petrova (2009 Beijing, 2010 Madrid).

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Sharapova’s hopes of a clay-grass double were halted in the fourth round of Wimbledon by German lefty Angelique Kerber. The two battled three closely fought sets in the bowels of Centre Court, with Sharapova coming up short after saving six match points in the third. Sharapova’s Wimbledon garb wasn’t much to write home about however, cut in a basic silhouette with a racerback design and in-seam darts.

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| Stanford – Montreal – Cincinnati |

The start of the American hardcourt swing debuted Nike’s kitsch attempt at leopard print for the World No. 1. Serena is probably the only player who could pull this look off, which she did with aplomb, styling the fun tank with a circle pleat skirt and neon yellow accessories. Serena claimed a further two titles leading up to the US Open at both the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford and the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

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My personal favorite outfit of the season arrived on the outdoor courts of the Rogers Cup, in Montreal. Sharapova showcased sporty separates in a complimentary color palette of baby blue and purple with empire waist detailing and geometric panels.

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| US Open |

Serena made history at the US Open, claiming her 18th Grand Slam trophy and tying all time greats Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert to pencil herself into the record books. Faced against her current on-tour BFF, Caroline Wozniacki, Serena stormed to her first slam of the season without dropping a set in a polarizing all-leopard number. The print was audaciously loud, ideal for the electric night sessions under the bright lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium. Serena incorporated hot pink accessories and all-black sneakers with her outfit, and debuted a day session version in a pink colorway.

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Sharapova’s night session LBD with sequined leopard print skirt was another sartorial standout at the US Open. Rarely does Sharapova experiment with footwear, but thanks to Nike her favored Zoom Vapor 9.5’s arrived New York ready in shocking neon pink. For the day session Sharapova sported another tunic design in an unusual grey, blue and orange colorway, paired with compression shorts and neon visor that cut a resoundingly sporty figure on court.

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| Wuhan – Beijing – Singapore |

The inaugural Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open in China wasn’t exactly kind to the two top ranked women, with just a single win mustered between the two. Serena’s opening round loss to Alizé Cornet (the third consecutive in 2014) came as a retirement due to viral illness. The World No. 1 rebounded at the China Open in Beijing, reaching the quarterfinals before giving yet another walkover to Aussie Sam Stosur. Luckily for Serena, the drama of the Asian swing had little effect (other than a bagel force feeding at the hands of Simona Halep) at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals, held in Singapore for the first time. The veteran claimed the crown for the fifth time in her career dressed in a relaxed teal dress with matching sneakers. With the win she was confirmed as the the Year-End No. 1.

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Sharapova meanwhile had less favorable fortunes at Singapore, managing to win just one match in her round robin group. It was a surprising turn of events, given her form on the hard courts of the China Open, where she swept aside Ana Ivanovic and outlasted Petra Kvitova to take her fourth title of the year. Kitted in crisp separates in a white and grey color palette with a detail pink skirt waistband, Sharapova managed to save face in her final match of 2014 by defeating Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska in a dramatic three set win, capping off a strange, but fruitful slam winning season.

So, who wore it best? Vote here in our TTI Style Seeds Poll:

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About Christopher Prince (36 Articles)
Fashion writer by day, tennis reporter by well also day but it's night given the time difference. You know when you wake up like dis, and you're flawless? Yeah that's me. @cosmicvoices

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