World #2 Ana Ivanovic (seed #1) out in second match to non-top-15 PoleThen again, having a name like "Chakvetadze" or "Safina" wasn't much help either, as the World #6 "Russian" (the #5 seed) Chakvetadze went down in her first match, in straight sets, to the same unseeded Chinese player who took out Jankovic, and the #15 "Russian" (the #11 seed) was crushed in her third match by a non-top-25 Russian.
World #3 Svetlana Kuznetsova (seed #2) out in second match to non-top-10 Austrian
World #4 Jelena Jankovic (seed #3) out in third match to non-top-25 Chinese
World #16 Nadia Petrova (seed #10) out in first match to non-top-30 Spaniard
All this carnage is what was necessary to vault Vera Zvonareva (unseeded, World #27) and Maria Sharapova (seed #4, world #5) into the semifinals to face, respectively, an unseeded opponent and the #16 seed. The world rankings of the three players Sharapova needed to defeat to reach the semis were #126, #101 and and #53 -- in other words, to reach the semi-finals of this Tier I, $2.5 million event Sharapova was not required to face a single player ranked in the world's top 50. When she reached the semis, where she should have had to face either the #1 seed or the dangerous #6 Venus Williams, Shamapova's opponent was actually ranked #20 in the world and only seeded because four higher-ranked players did not show themselves in Qatar. By the time Shamapova reached the semi-finals, she was guaranteed to be able to win the tournament after having faced only one seeded player in the course of five matches, and that one being the lowest seed in the tournament. Both she and Zvonareva were also lucky enough to draw Russian opponents for one of their first three matches, both drew lower-ranked opponents in their semi-finals contents (only one faced a seed), and thus both had a serious shot at facing a Russian for the title.
And in the end, that's just what happened. After reaching the finals without facing a single top-ten seed (and only one seed in total), Shamapova found herself facing an unseeded fellow Russian not ranked in the top 25 in the world for the title. Lo and behold, she prevailed (though it took her three sets to do so)! Another epic display of Russian talent by a player who hasn't lived in Russia since she was a child and learned how to play in the United States.
So Shamapova is back to her old tricks, using dumb luck rather than skill to work her way deep into significant tournaments and collect cheap ratings points. If you examine her career, you'll see this pattern repeated over and over, especially during the period when she briefly held the #1 ranking. Which, of course, is why we call her "Sham"-o-pova. Much like her country, Shampova is a triumph of form over substance, an bubble-like illusion just waiting for another humiliating "pop!"