At the WTA tour event in Tokyo, Japan this week Russia began the tournament with five of the sixteen seeds, more than 25%, and three of the top five. Not one of them made it to the tournament’s third round, despite most having byes in the first round.
#1 seed Dinara Safina lost her first match to an unseeded player from Taiwan not ranked in the world’s top 130 players. Ouch.
#3 seed Elena Dementieva lost her first match as well, to an unseeded German rival not ranked in the world’s top 60.
#5 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova likewise went down in flames, losing her first match to another unseeded German, this one not ranked in the world’s top 50.
What do you suppose happened to #6 seed Vera Zvonareva? What’s that you say? You guess she lost her first match too, against an equally lowly and unseeded rival? You’re right!
But if you think #13 seed Nadia Petrova went down in exactly the same fashion, you’re quite mistaken. Petrova was the only seeded Russian player to win as much as a single match, and the only one to advance to the third round of the tournament. Care to guess how she managed it? You think her unseeded second-round opponent might have resigned due to injury early in the second set? You’re right again!
So much, once again, for Russia’s “dominant” female tennis players.