Play began at this year’s U.S. Open tennis tournament on Monday, August 29, 2011, with 21 Russians represented in the main draws. Only France and the USA had contingents of equal or larger size at the year’s final grand slam event, so Russia might have taken some pride in the achievement.
But within days, Russia probably wished it had skipped the tournament entirely.
Before play had begun on Wednesday, August 31, a mere two days in, 11 of those 21 Russians were gone. Only the USA saw more players eliminated from the draws in the first two days, but the USA had one-third more entries in the draw and as a result lost only one-third of its contingent. It had twice as many active players going into day three as Russia. Russia’s contingent had been cut by more than half and the tournament had hardly even begun.
And it wasn’t just Russia’s second-rate players who were cut down. Russia’s top-seeded male player, Mikhail Youzhny, lost his first-round match to an unseeded opponent in woefully noncompetitive fashion, showing the way to ten of his fellow Russians out the U.S. Open’s swinging door.
Russia’s next major humiliation was provided by Maria Sharapova, the country’s second-highest-seeded female player, in the third round.
Posted in neo-soviet failure, russia, sharapova, sports
Tagged Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Igor Kunitsyn, Maria Kirilenko, maria sharapova, Mikhail Youzhny, russia, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva
Such a mysterious (and painful) orb!
The stadium court in Cincinnati, Ohio, stood humiliatingly half empty on August 21st as the women’s final of the WTA’s Western & Southern Open began.
The reason was simple: Russia’s second best player, the hapless and grating Maria Sharapova was playing. Had a second Russian stood on the court opposite, the place might well have been entirely vacant.
The third round of play at the All-England Club this year was utterly disastrous for Russian female tennis players .
It never ceases to amaze us how so many Russians will, when confronted by evidence of catastrophic failure like this, seek to rationalize it rather than to demand reform — the very thing they do in politics and all other aspects of their lives. Instead of calling for improvement by Russia, they invariably point to failures by other countries, as if that made it OK for Russia to fail.
It reminds us of the old Soviet-era joke: An American walks up to a hotel desk clerk in Moscow and complains loudly about the shockingly poor accommodations in his Russian hotel room. The clerk responds: “Yes, but you lynch blacks.” The result of this attitude was that the USSR never improved, collapsed and disappeared into the ashcan of history. And, or so it seems, Russians have learned absolutely nothing from that experience.
In the third round at Wimbledon 2011, both Russia’s top seed, world #3 Vera Zvonareva, and its third seed, world #12 Svetlana Kuznetsova, were cruelly slaughtered by lower-ranked opponents. Zvonareva, supposedly Russia’ s best player, suffered particularly intense humiliation, getting blasted off the court in easy straight sets by the tournaments’s lowest seed, a Bulgarian not ranked in the top 30 (and we report elsewhere in today’s issue on how the Bulgarians recently thumbed their noses at Russia over World War II – ouch!).
Declining Russia, which some idiots used to refer to as “dominant” in the sport, had a pathetic six seeds going into the tournament, and now two of the top three were gone before the fourth round could begin. What’s more, the #14 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had already lost in the second round, as had the #28 seed Ekaterina Makarova. After Kuznetsova and Zvonareva went down, this left only two Russian seeds with a chance of getting as far as the fourth round.
Another one of those days for our gal Shamapova
So-called “Russian” female tennis player Maria Sharapova has described herself as “cow on ice” when it comes to playing on the red clay of Stade Roland Garros at the French Open grand slam event (“shrieking cow on ice” would be a little more accurate). And it did not take her long to prove it in her semifinals match against Chinese journeywoman Na Li.
Sharapova went down in straight sets and had her serve broken a shocking five times by the diminutive opponent, who is five years her senior and seven inches shorter and has never won a grand-slam title and had only beaten Sharapova twice in seven prior meetings. Our gal Shamapova struck a pathetic 12 winners compared to a whopping 28 unforced errors, served no aces and a ghastly ten double faults. It was another classic Shamapova implosion, occuring with Sharapova just two matches from a career grand slam. Likely she’ll never get that close again.
But say this for the “Russian” who lives in America and spends no time in her so-called country: She was by far the class of the Russian field.
Yeah, kinda sucks to be Russian. We feel you, Vera.
Those clever Russians had a little brainstorm for the major WTA Tour event in Miami, Florida, USA: What if, they thought, we put our #1 and #3 female players on the same doubles team. Has to be a good result, right?
When #1 Vera Zvonareva (world #3) and #3 Svetlana Kuznetsova (world #15) stepped on the court for their second match of the Sony Ericsson tournament, they were blown off the court with the greatest of ease by a Spanish team composed of players ranked a lowly #33 and #77.
Ouch. Back to the drawing board, Russians. Or maybe set fire to the drawing board and consider ping pong, or curling?
Then came the singles, where things got even uglier.
More spectacular Russian female failure on the tennis court to report. Surprise, surprise.
Russia placed seven seeds into the 32-seed draw at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California last week, but only one in the top 10 and only two in the top 15. Russia, you may have heard, is slipping.
And then it got worse.
Both of Russia’s two top seeds (#3 Vera Zvonareva and #11 Svetlana Kuznetsova) and three of its top four seeds (adding #17 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova) were blasted out of the major event before stepping on the court for their third matches. A fifth seed, #24 Maria Kirilenko, likewise lost her second match.
Maria Sharapova, Russian to the Rotten Core
“We are going to go out and fight. We never give up and that’s not what our country is known for, and we are going to go out there and battle for what is ours.”
That was Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova talking, shortly after losing her Fed Cup match in Moscow in easy, non-competitive straight sets 3-6, 4-6 to France’s Virginie Razzano, the lowly world number 83. Sharapova may well have found it hard to get inspired by patriotism paying in and a for a country in which she spends hardly any time. She lives in the USA, owns lots of property there, and is engaged to a non-Russian who does likewise.
And what did Shamapova do after making this bold statement? She promptly quit. She was replaced in the second-round singles match by countrywoman Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the desperate hope of eking out a win against the unheralded and hopelessly out-gunned French squad. What’s more, the fourth member of Russia’s Fed Cup team, Dinara Safina, did not even set foot on the court. Sharapova then promptly also quit her next scheduled tournament, claiming she had a cold. Russians fighting on? As if.
Sharapova was, of course, simply lying (in classic Russian fashion) when she said Russia is “not known for giving up.” In fact, that’s exactly what Russia is known for, in every walk of life, all throughout history. When the going gets tough the Russians get going, right out the “Exit” door. When democracy is too tough, they opt for dictatorship. When a tennis match is too tough, they quit. As such, Shamapova proves herself 100% Russian to the core with her behavior in Moscow.