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.
Sharapova was the only Russian of three who made it to the quarterfinals to reach the semis. Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova were both blasted off the court by their opponents, although in their defense they were forced to play the tournament’s #5 and #11 seeds while Sharapova, surely one of the luckiest human beings ever born to live, only had to face the #15, who barely put up a struggle. In other words as soon as Shamapova had to face a tough opponent she too, like the other Russians, promptly lost.
Russia’s top seed, Vera Zvonareva, lost in the fourth round, as did #25 seed Maria Kirilenko. Nadia Petrova, the #26 seed, lost her opening match.
Russian female tennis is clearly in decline. Elena Dementieva and Dinara Safina have disappeared from the landscape and rust buckets like Kuznetsova and Sharapova and Zvonareva and Petrova can barely keep the Russian flame alive. There are no bright stars on the Russian tennis horizon, and the predictions of Russian tennis dominance on the female circuit have been exploded as mere pipe dreams.