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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Annals of Shamapova: Misery in Miami

A major tennis tournament is underway in Miami, Florida -- the Sony Eriksson Open, where male and female players compete together just like a Grand Slam and a huge number of ranking points are in play. More Russian humiliation? Oh my, yes.

The seven Russians among the 32 seeds are (well, were): Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Nadia Petrova, Anna Chakvetadze, Dinara Safina, Vera Zvonoreva and Maria Kirilenko.

Kirilenko was eliminated in her opening match in easy straight sets by a lower-ranked, unseeded player.

That same player, a rusty Venus Williams, stretched Shamapova to three sets in her second match; Shamapova "won" despite making 1/3 more errors than she struck winners and losing her serve not once, not twice, but three different times in the third set. So much for little miss "power shot"!

Kuznetsova, ranked #3 in the world, lost her third match to a player not ranked in the top 15 and not seeded in the top 10 -- going out meekly 3-6 in the third set. Zvonoreva was pulverized in her third match, but by the number one player in the world, Henin-Hardenne. World #2 Sharapova was destroyed even more emphatically in her third match by Serena Williams, a player not ranked in the world's top 15, winning only two of 14 games played. For a player ranked #1 just days ago, Sharapova's shoddy play was a true scandal. She struck twice as many errors as winners, double-faulted eight times, had her serve broken five out of seven times (yielding serve on 83% of her opponent's opportunties to break), never had a break point of her own and her opponent won twice as many points during the course of the match. She was blown off the court in less than an hour, exposed as a fundamentally inferior player when compared to a true champion, even a rusty one on the comeback trail.

Petrova ousted Safina in their third match to become one of only two Russians to reach the quarterfinals (thanks to being lucky enough to play another Russian!). Chakvetadze became the only Russian to beat a non-Russian to reach the quarters, taking out the lowest seed, and was on track to meet Petrova in the semis if they could both win their quarters matches. Chakvetadze did so, taking out a lower-ranked Chinese player, but Petrova was left to face world #1 Justine Henin-Hardenne. Three guesses as to what happened to Petrova. That's right: Straight-set loss.

The net result (excuse the pun!) was that the only one of Russia's seven seeds to reach the semi-finals in Miami was the one player, Chakvetadeze, whom Slavic Russians would least accept as actually being "Russian." Russia's two top-five players both utterly humliated themselves, once again. Ask any tennis fan who they'd rather see play Justine in the finals of a big tournament, Serena Williams (not top 10) or Kuznetsova or Sharapova (both top 10). It's a no brainer.

Oh the pain, the pain. So much for the idea of Russian "dominance" in the sport of tennis (remember, the ladies are a million times better than the men, so we won't even go there).


Vova said...

Re Sharapova, I respectfully disagree. Although I don't know much about tennis I do know that the Russophile trash hate her exactly because they perceive her as not being Russian enough, or even being non-Russian at all, with her cute American accent (just like mine). This alone is enough reason to like her. Besides, she voted with her feet. She's just a lucky and talented Russian-born American girl, a bit immature

La Russophobe said...


I'm not sure Maria's loyalties are as clear cut as you say. She has recently made noises about playing for the Russian national team, and although she speaks English on the court she repeatedly proclaims herself to be a Russian who only lives in America for professional reasons. This is one of the main reasons that LR's ire is directed at her. If she openly defected to America or moved back to Russia, we'd have far less of a problem with her. Either way, she could do a lot of good -- but she does neither. Of course, it's quite possible that she's being victimized by her Svengali-like father, who's been repeatedly caught trying to cheat and coach her during matches. But if she's big enough to earn millions (very little of which she gives to impoverished Russians) then she's big enough to take responsibility for her parents.

I'm also not sure how much the Russophiles hate her. Whenever we mention her, we always get lots of hate mail from them defending her.

And in the end, it's only her shoddy play that really matters. She belongs in the top 5 the same way Russia belongs in the G-8, that is not at all. As such, she undermines the sport the same way Russia undermines the G-8. She's an illusion rather than substance, the living embodiment of Russia itself. Instead of seeing the need to reform in either case, the Russophile "trash" as you aptly call them choose to live off the illusion, driving Russia ever closer to the brink of disaster.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. I hate Sharapova for the same reasons. She knows nothing about Russia, speaks Russian poorly, accepts congrats from Putine, shakes hands with Yeltsin :x Yuck! She is a nice girl and great player, but, man, how can she be so dramatically ignorant?! If she knew what Russian today is like in her own experience, if she cares to learn about the problems of the country and the roots of these problems, maybe she wouldn't represent it. I think that often sportsmen are pretty narrow-minded, I mean, they care mostly about sports, their results, and don't bother themselves with intellectual/spiritual development, that's why they often aren't aware of political situation in the world, especially about things that aren't published in popular mass media. Still, it's a shame to be as ignorant as Sharapova is. It's so annoying and disgusting. Seems like the negative influence of her terrible father (who enjoys dumb anti-American Russian movies as Brat and Brat-2) play some role. Maybe it's "profitable" for them that she is marketed as a Russian girl. Anyway, I used to like this tennis player before, but her blind patriotism and denying herself being all-American totally alienated me.
Oh, and it's so pathetic when she wins and they start yelling: "Yes!!! Russian is the best! We'll beat anyone!" =/