More pain, humiliation and failure to report for the Russian women at last week’s WTA tour event in New Haven, Connecticut. Russia had two of the top four seeds, including the #1, at the last tune-up event before the final grand slam event of the year in New York City, but neither of them managed to get as far as the semi-finals. #4 seed Nadia Petrova lost her opening round match to an unseeded opponent, while #1 seed Svetlana Kuzntesova went down in the quarter finals to the #8 seed, who then promtly lost to an unseeded opponent in the semis, taking just three of 15 games played in the final two sets.
And at the U.S. Open, Maria Shamapova’s run of inhuman dumb luck contiunued apace.
32 seeds are given out at the U.S. Open, with a draw that includes 18 players. Going into the tournament Shamapova was ranked #31 in the world, meaning that unlike the situation at Wimbledon this year, she had acutally earned a seed at the final grand slam. The #31 seed (or #30 if the prior week’s rankings were used). But that’s not what she got. Instead, because two higher seeds pulled out of the tournament, Shamapova was given the #29 seed, which put her into the second quarter of the draw where she would only face countrywomen — Elena “the serveless wonder” Dementieva, the wretched Petrova and the clueless Kuznetsova, the latter two of whom disgraced themselves in their last tournament appearance as described above — before the semifinals. The lethal American duo of Venus and Serena Williams were on the opposite side of the draw, meaning Sharapova would have to face at most one of them, and only in the finals.
Will this Russian’s dumb luck never end? She somehow manages to fly from Siberia to Florida and to receive tennis lessons from one of the world’s greatest (American, of course) instructors. She wins Wimbledon after being saved in the semi-finals by a rainstorm. This list of incidents is as long as your arm!
Meanwhile, her play (like that of all the other Russians) is truly horrendous. As we previously reported, in the finals of the WTA tour event in Toronto last month, Sharapova and Dementieva combined for a shocking 17 double faults in what the New York Times called a “dark comedy masquerading as a match.” Not so funny, of course, to fans unlucky enough to have paid top dollar for pricey finals tickets. In the first week at the U.S. Open, Dementieva was ejected in her second match of the tournament by an unseeded American not ranked in the world’s top 65 players, making it even more laughably easy for Sharapova to advance in her quarter of the draw.
Just for the benefit, by the way, of those few readers who insist on bashing our coverage of Maria “Shamapova” and Russian women’s tennis, we’d thought we’d point out this discussion on a BBC forum, just one of many that occur on a weekly basis that links to our analysis and draws a number of visitors to our blog who otherwise might never have seen it. Our readers, of course, would not be aware of these links unless they were discussed in the comments or we mentioned them, both rare occurrences.
So get this straight: Our coverage works on three different levels. It serves as levening sports analysis, as a metaphor of widerRussian failure and advertising. So stick a sock in it, blogging “experts” who would like us to stop publishing this analysis. Your time would be better spent creating DIGG and STUMBLEUPON links to posts you do like, rather than obsessing about those you don’t. And those who create such links have a far better case that we should listen to their concerns — so by all means if you do it, tell us about it.