Well, so-called “Russian” Maria Shamapova, who actually lives in the United States, learned her game there, and never spends any time in Russia, “won” another tennis tournament last week, the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan.
Once again, it was all smoke and mirrors for our gal Maria.
In her third-round match, Shamapova should have been required to beat #6 seed Vera Zvonareva. But the match didn’t happen, because Zvonareva was whipped in her very first match by an unseeded opponent.
In her quarter-finals match, Shamapova should have had to face world #1 Dinara Safina. But again, she didn’t. Safina also lost her opening-round match, to a player not ranked in the world’s top 100.
Upon reaching the semi-finals, Shamapova should have had to deal with U.S. Open finalist Caroline Wozniaki, the #4 seed. But Wozniaki went down in her second match to an unseeded opponent. If not Wozniaki, Shamapova rightfully should have played #5 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova. But just like each and every one of the other seeded Russians in the draw, Kuznetsova did not even make the third round of the tournament, dropping her first match against a lowly qualifier.
And then came the finals. Think Shamapova had to play the #2 seed, Venus Williams? Nope. How about the #4 seed, Elena Dementieva? Uh-uh. Instead, Shampova’s just-plain-silly dumb luck held, and neither of those two players reached her either.
This left Shamapova on court in the finals against the #7 seed Jelena Jankovic, having had to face not a single one of the tournament’s other top-10 seeds along the way. But if you think Shamapova’s dumb luck ended there, you’re very much mistaken.
Jankovic came up limp in the seventh game of the match, and she quit playing. Call us arrogant, but we think even we’d be able to take down a WTA final if our opponent gave up and walked off the court.
So that’s how Maria Sharapova ended up “winning” her first tournament of 2009. She truly may be the luckiest human being on planet Earth, what with being able to travel from Siberia to Florida as a child in order to learn tennis, winning Wimbledon by being saved by a rain delay (just before the stadium got a roof) and on and on.
See what we mean by “Shamapova”? She’s a chip off the old Russian block.