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Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Sunday Carnage (More Tennis Humiliation for Russia)

At the Tier I WTA tour event in Toronto last week, the Rogers Cup, Russian players held five of the top ten seeds and all of their top-20-ranked players entered the draw except for Maria Sharapova (who isn't really Russian anyway, since she lives in the United States, owns property there -- and not in Russia -- never spends any time in Russia and has never played for the national team). That was as good as it got for the Russian contingent; when play actually started, there was blood everywhere.

When the dust settled and the quarter finals had been contested, not a single Russian player was left standing. Not one Russian player managed even to get as far as the semi-finals.

Perhaps Russia's bitterest, most humiliating moment in the tournament came in the quarter finals when a much lower-ranked Russian defector, Tatiana Golovin of France (seeded #12 and ranked #19), brutally crushed Russia's second-highest ranked player Svetlana Kuznetsova (world #4 seeded #3 in the tournament), with Kuznetsova able to take only one game in the decisive third set and just two in the first.

But it couldn't have been very easy, either, for the Russians to face the fact that a Chinese player (and an unseeded qualifier at that!), of all things, reached the semis while not a single one of their players own could do so.

Anna Chakvetadze, Nadia Petrova, Yelena Dementieva and Dinara Safina fared little better than Kuznetsova. Only one of them, Petrova, managed to reach the quarter finals -- where she was taken apart in easy straight sets by the world #1 Justine Henin. Both Chakvetadze and Dementieva were booted by much lower-ranked players, unseeded players and no Russian managed to upset a higher-ranked non-Russian opponent.

More proof of Russian "dominance" in the world of ladies' tennis. At least, we didn't hear any gibberish from the WTA about "ruling Russians" this time.

* * *

In related news, lower-ranked American James Blake blew higher-ranked Russian Nikolai Davydenko off the court in the semifinals of the ATP event in Cincinnati, with Davydenko able to win only 6 of games played in the straight-set laugher. Davydenko, now embroiled in a massive fixing conspiracy and previously reported by LR, richly deserved his humiliation.

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