World #14 Maria “Shamapova” continued her humiliating losing ways in the opening round of the year’s first grand-slam tennis tournament, the Australian Open, getting thrashed in her very first match of the tournament by lowly World #58 Maria Kirilenko (who’s actually a threat to steal Sharapova’s “#1 Russian tennis babe” crown as well). You just got here, darling! Leaving so soon?
Maria, it must be admitted, is not the only Russian sham in town.
Every year before the Aussie Open a tune-up tournament is held in Sydney.
Last year, Russia’s Elena Dementieva defeated American Serena Williams in the semi-finals at Sydney. The two met again in the semi-finals of the grand slam event, whereupon the American thrashed the Russian with ease and went on to take the title, crushing another Russian, Dinara Safina, in one of the most humiliatingly one-sided grand slam finals in recent memory (save for Williams’ prior brutalizing of yet a third Russian, the aforementioned Maria Sharapova, two years before).
This year, it seems history is repeating itself.
Dementieva again downed Williams at Sydney, this time in the finals. Commenting on her play, one Australian paper wrote that her “serve is the shower scene from Psycho. Her ball toss signalling the possibility of an imminent and horrific turn of events. When the Russian was sighted mid-week practising her second serve, four people were huddled around her as if they were all trying to crack a code.” As if that commentary and the events last year were not enough to eviscerate any claim to fame “the Demented One” (as she is known on the tour) might have claimed, Williams was visibly unable to pay normally due to pain in her heavily bandaged knee.
Still though, Dementieva performed better than her compatriots. Safina was the #2 seed at Sydney, she surrendered meekly to Dementieva in her second match of the tournament. Williams did not have to face the#8 seed in her second match because that player, Russian Vera Zvonareva, quit in the middle of the first set of her first match (contrast Williams, who played through pain to complete her match against Dementieva). The #3 seed was Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, who was blown off the court in her second match by an unseeded Slovakian.