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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Another Ghastly Performance by Shamopova

Playing her first match at the Australian Open yesterday, Maria Sharapova needed three sets and 219 points to beat the unseeded unknown Camille Pin of France, a player who had never been past the second round of the tournament in four tries (48 points is the minimum needed to win a two-set match). Ranked #76 in the world at the end of last year, and serving zero aces in the whole match to Sharapova's eight, Pin nonetheless came back from losing the first set to soundly beat Sharapova in the second and then stretched her to 16 games in the third set, at one point getting to within two points of the match. In a wretched display, Sharapova struck 65 unforced errors and served at 60%; in the end, out of 219 points played, Sharapova won only 17 (8%) more than Pin. Sharapova needed 47 minutes to take the first set, while Pin needed only 41 to snatch the second.

Ever the champion (not!), Sharapova pathetically blamed her dismal display on the weather. accusing the tournament organizers of being "inhuman." She stated: "It's inhuman to play three hours in that kind of heat," said Sharapova, who took a medical timeout following a 10-minute heat break and let a 5-0 lead in the final set slip through her fingers. I don't think our bodies were made to do that. When it's that hot your mind doesn't work properly." Regular readers of La Russophobe may recall her recent report on the similarly pathetic and outrageous comments of Russian male player, blaming a tournament for his own failure. His offensive statements resulted in a well-deserved $10,000 fine from tour organizers; let's hope Sharapova will get a suitably equal sanction, since she reguarly announces that women should be paid as much as men on the court. Next up for Sharpova: her unseeded countrywoman Anastasia Rodionova, ranked #82 in the world at the end of 2006. Yup, that's Sharapova's luck. Travels to the US and studies tennis for free, and how her opponents get worse as she proceeds up the draw in a grand slam event. To reach the semis, the toughest competition she'll have to face is world #8 Patty Schyder in the quarters, not exactly one of the tours more feared opponents. She very well might be the luckiest human being ever born to live, our little Miss Shamopova!

Meanwhile, Russia's leading male star, Marat Safin, was also stretched to the max by his lowly first AND second round opponents, needing five hard-fought sets (including a tiebreaker in each) to prevail both times (most recently against total unknownn Dudi Sela of Israel). To his credit, at least he didn't say anything about the weather being responsible for his suckery. Next up for Safin: American Andy Roddick.

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