At the WTA Tour event in Rome, Italy last week, Russia had three of the top six seeds and therefore should have had three of eight slots in the quarter finals. Yet, not a single one of Russia’s three top seeds made it that far. In fact, they didn’t get remotely close. Instead, as per usual, Russia’s so-called “dominant” women humiliated themselves before a slack-jawed world.
Top seed Dinara Safina lost her opening match to an unseeded Romanian.
Number two seed Svetlana Kuznetsova lost her first match as well, to an unseeded Russian.
And then number three seed Elena Dementieva rounded things out by losing her second match to an unseeded Serbian.
Russia did manage to put two unheralded players into the quarter finals despite all this humiliating carnage among its top players. Both then each promptly lost in easy straight sets once they got there. Hardly a surprising result, since it’s the top-seeded players who are supposed to win such matches.
So while Russia had great prospects on paper to have as many as three of the semi-finals slots at the Rome tournament, and even perhaps produce an all-Russian final, in the event it didn’t get a single such spot. The country had only one impressive match victory in the entire tournament, and that was when the unseeded Russian, Maria Kirilenko, ousted another Russian, Kuznetsova. As we’ve said before, this is typical.
A huge amount of the limited success Russians have had in international tennis has come simply by having a large number of contestants who sometimes get the chance to beat each other, rather than much tougher foreigners, to advance deep into tennis draws. Kuznetsova, for instance, holds two grand slam titles, and got both of them by beating another Russian in the finals. On the two other occasions when she made a grand slam final and faced a foreign opponent, she was blown off the court. Safina has been in three grand slam finals and lost every single one, not even able to beat a Russian (Kuznetsova) when she got the chance and then losing twice to foreigners. Dementieva has handed two grand slam titles to felllow Russians, one to Kuznetsova and one to Anastasia Myskina. The only Russian to ever win a grand slam title by defeating a foreigner in a final match was Maria Sharapova, a player who lived virtually her entire life in the United States and learned her game there.
So much for Russian female dominance in tennis!