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Monday, April 07, 2008

Russians up to Their Old Tricks in Sunny Miami

The Russian contingent was up to its old tricks again last week at the WTA Tier I tour event in Miami Florida.

Before turning to them, though, we should note a larger outrage: American Serena Williams won the tournament in dominating fashion, crushing several higher-ranked players on the way to the title (which she won for the fifth time, a record). Yet, on Monday her ranking actually dropped from #8 to #9. Obviously, the ranking system is entirely psychotic and requires massive reform (after all, it once said -- albeit briefly -- that the pathetic Maria Shamapova was the best player on the planet). The woeful Russian Elena Dementieva vaulted from #11 to #8, knocking Serena down a peg, advancing to the quarterfinals in a show of pure dumb luck.

Speaking of which, as for the Russians:

Fully half the quarter-finals spots were occupied by Russians, giving apparent fuel to the Russophile fire. But no intelligent fan was duped. It was all just a freak of nature, taking the wind out of the tournament's sails by sending boring, lame Russian players deep into the draw.

Three Russians who were not seeded to reach the quarters (#10 Dementieva, #13 Safina and #19 Zvonareva) got there anyway. How did they do it? Dumb luck. All three of the higher-seeded players they were scheduled to meet in the earlier rounds conveniently lost before they ever needed to face them. Slavic vixen and #2 seed Ivanovic was blown off the court in easy straight sets by aging, has-been American Lindsey Davenport while Russia's second-highest seed (#5 Anna Chakvetadze -- who fell to #7 in the world from #5 as a result) was equally humiliated by an unseeded opponent in her second match, taking only one game in the second set. Finally, #7 Hantuchova lost a tough three-setter against a Japanese journeywoman. Russia's most famous player, it should be noted, namely Maria Sharapova, didn't even show up, licking her wounds after a humiliating drubbing by countrywoman Kuznetsova in the prior tournament.

This had the effect of leaving Russia with a guaranteed spot in the semifinals as Zvonareva and Safina drew each other in the quarters. Meanwhile, in an act that can only be considered insane, tournament organizers not only placed world #1 Justine Henin the same quarter of the draw with the most scintillating player, #8 Serena Williams, but it also placed both of them in the same half with Serena's sister Venus, virtually guaranteeing that all the real drama of the tournament would be gone before the finals. When Serena's rank drops even though she wins a Tier I event, and when fans are deprives of marquee matches in the semis and finals, it's time to wonder whether the women's game is out to destroy itself.

And in the event, the Russians spoiled things even earlier. Kuznetsova, whose middle name should be "chokeyawn," beat the lower-ranked Venus, sending her on to face Serena in the semis after Serena brutally destroyed Henin. The lower-ranked Serena then easily whipped the higher-ranked Kuznetsova in the semis, cruising to an easy 6-3 win the the third set. Kuznetsova's ranking thus dropped to #4 from #3 (though this was not nearly as bizarre a result as with Serena, since Kuznetsova was displaced by former #4 Jelena Jankovic, who made the finals).

Thus, of the four Russian women who made the quarterfinals, two (Kuznetsova and Safina) lost to lower-ranked opponents, one (Dementieva) gave up in the middle of the second set and one (Zvonareva) was blown off the court by a higher-ranked opponent in an unwatchable match. With 50% of the spots in both the quarters and semis, Russia didn't manage to get even one player into the finals, much less win the tournament. In other words, same old Russian story. By contrast, though not seeded to even make the semifinals and with 50% fewer players reaching the quarters than Russia, America not only put a player in the finals but won the title, it's lower-ranked entrant totally dominating her higher-ranked Serbian opponent.

As if all this weren't enough lameness, as we reported last week Mikhail Youzhny, the men's 11th seed, helped Russia to some additional humiliation by beating himself over the head repeatedly with his racket during his third-round match, drawing blood and turning himself into a YouTube phenonmenon. Add this to top-ranked Russian Nikolay Davydenko's match-fixing investigation, and you have . . . Russia in a nutshell.


Anonymous said...

Nikolay Davidenko won the Miami Open !!! ???

In a great fashion , though .

For the first time I saw him as a real champion .

Don't you think , inspite your Russia hatemongering business, that Nikolay did an excellent job in Miami ?

God bless you , you need it !

La Russophobe said...

As is typically the case with Russophile idiots like you, you've totally missed the point of this post, which is to bust the myth that Russian women are great at tennis. Nobody thinks Russian men are great, so we couldn't care less about them.

As you've asked, we think the match between Nadal and Davydenko was incredibly boring, and that Davydenko is bad for tennis because he lacks personality and a compelling style of play -- to say nothing of the corruption charges pending against him. And the only reason he even reached the final was because of a freak victory by Andy Roddick over Roger Federer, who was n Davydenko's side of the draw and would have crushed him.

The idea that Davydenko is a "real champion" could only be suggested by someone totally ignorant of the sport, a blind Russian nationalist and an idiot.

Hopefully, we've answered the question you asked thoughtfully and in good faith, showing how reasonable you are and how wrong we are to condemn Russophiles.