Nobody has mentioned the similarity between RG and Wimbledon. In both cases, Maria was the favorite, not to say the super favorite. Li Na and Kvit were pretty unknown in Grand Slams. Li had played the AO final earlier this year and Kvit the semis at Wimbledon last year but who could have predicted them to outplay Maria? Every journalist wrote Maria would play the final in Paris and could win over Schiavone. For Wimbly, everyone already saw Maria lift the trophy. Actually Maria was dominated by both Li and Kvit and lost in straight sets.
None of these two players are superior to Maria. They don't have Maria's experience. But they played very smart. Not a great tennis, but a clever tennis to exploit the opponent's weaknesses.
For me this is a very big disapointment. For any random player, playing the semis at RG and the final at Wimbledon would be a big achievement. Even Wozniacki would have loved to get to that. But Maria is NOT a random player. Now I am wondering about her chances to win a GS in a future. She improved a lot since her coming back from injury. Is it enought to win another GS?
One of her problems (there are many) is her serve. Actually she doesn't have the same powerful and accurate serve she had before the shrould injury. Someone in this forum said earlier that serves are not that important. I disagree. Big serve is not the only thing a champion needs. Every champion has a big serve. Maria won three GS thanks partly to her serve. In modern tennis, a big serve is necessary to win the games, especially for female players because they are supposed not to serve well. Look at the men; they all have big serves. Kvitova serves great too, even her second serve is good to distabilize Maria.
Many mention again and again the shoulder injury to justify the defeat. Well the injury is 3 years ago. She didn't come back yesterday either. So we have to look at other reasons.
I always think the future of female tennis is not only in hard hitting. Big hitters like Azarenka or Wozniacki can go far, but it's not enough to win a GS. Playing clever is quite essential to become a true champion. Kvit's coach, Kotyza, said during a post-match interview "Her [Kvit] brain is a big advantage for this game.". He's not wrong.
Now what can we advise Maria's staff? Improve more and more her serve as she already did a lot, work on her fitness (Philli would say her stamina), adapt her game to the new generation of players, and of course play more with her head as well as her arms.
Thanx for raising Kotyza--this is a pretty sharp dude, himself. And that brings in the responsibility of the team. Top players need personnel scouting the upcomers and their coaching talent.
Agree pretty much with all your points. Yes there IS a pattern--not dependent on individuals because Li Na & Kvitova are very different cases as opponents. I think this may be related to a broader pattern, so let me take this a little further.
The Russian girls at Wimbledon all peaked one or two matches too soon. Masha, Vesnina in doubles both womens & mixed, even the junior Khromacheva. Going out to opponents they SHOULD have beaten when they'd whacked equally heavy contenders the match before. The repition of that sequence has to mean something.
I'm no sure exactly what. The crooked self-elimination devices built into the draws may affect it but I can't hang the premature climaxes of the survivors off on that. It looks more like a mis-estimation of relative threats. (I generally dismiss the claim "I don't look at the draw". Players simply don't want to discuss the draw.)
Do you notice the new, near-total silence re post-mortems & analysis once a given favorite went out? Sisters, Russians, Germans, whatever--hey, Sam Stosur? Sam lost in the dark & then she might as well have never been there. They'd hardly even take note of her doubles.
[quote=Philli;308857]Make no mistake, Maria is devastated by this loss. Didn't she say earlier this week that winning this one meant more to her than all the others? How's that for a kick in the ass. But let me say this, Petra did not play great to beat Maria....she played intelligently and, like Na Li, tuned her game to meet the requirements. She shut out Maria, systematically exposing all her weaknesses and dismantling her game. Not once did Maria ever look like she had a chance to win this....no set point, no match point... she just struggled all the way through to get the points that she made. See, this is what happens when a slogger meets someone who can play tennis. Maria's run to the Final was the easiest of all, she never had to take on any tough players. Petra worked hard to make it, and she deserved the win. I said it 3 weeks ago that there would be a new name on the trophy this year, and I was right. Maria may only be 24, but she is old for today's tennis. The game has changed over the years and, although she is now fitter thanks to Thomas, her game is still the same, but the players have changed...they are smarter now.Paul seems to think that the US Open is already stitched up. I tend to agree with him in that I dont think Kim will win it again this year. She seems to have 'lost her way' a little...and to be honest, she really has nothing to prove anymore. She made her point in 2009 when she made her fabulous comeback, putting Maria firmly in the shade, and again in 2010. She doesn't need to prove a thing now.[/quote
Where did u dissapear to while Maria made her run to the final. Philli??
I wrote, in part, 17 days ago:
I say again: Maria has enemies she has not heard from yet. The real threats are the hot upcomers with whom she is unfamiliar. When we get the draw tomorrow, we should pay close attention to each possible contender along the way. Ref back to the quotation in the previous message.
I say to Masha: The girl hardest to defeat is the one who is you all those years ago.
Masha's post-match interview:
Q. We've been going through an interesting period where the slam winners have been on the older side. Do you think this in some way represents a breakthrough? Do you think that younger generation is going to finally step up to slam titles?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, yeah. I guess it's a good story (laughter). I don't know how else to say it.
I guess it's how it happened. Of course you're always going to see a younger generation rise up. There's always going to be a generation one after the next. Ultimately they're going to step up at one point. It happened to be in this tournament.
You know, we'll see whether that continues for the years to come. I mean, for this tournament, certainly, yeah.
Q. Would you consider this a baby step in the comeback getting to the final, or is it a big step?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's a big step considering that, as I've said, my results here in the last few years haven't been that good. It's a big step because my game is improving, and it's a big step because it gives me a tremendous amount of confidence going forward.
We still have many tournaments in this year and the next and the following. Uhm, you know, I just want to be a better player and I want to keep working.
Q. Do you think you would have made it to the finals without Thomas Hogstedt this year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: This year? I don't know. You know, I made changes in my team. I'm very happy with the changes I've made. He's helped me a lot. Yeah, I look forward to continue the work with him.
When you listen to her, at least my ear does not make out any particular "devastation".
Vid at: http://www.wimbledon.com...1107021309611792461.html
Paul, don't know if you've seen this but i'm sure it will be of interest to you and all the American audience http://www.wimbledon.com...1107051309875454217.html
At the very end of Sunday coverage, NBC announced their long tenure had ended.
Previously, that would have saddened me. BUT, after their god-awful censorship of the delayed semifinal broadcast.--some aspects (like delaying the rain-threat) frankly incomprehensible, others like cutting out all images of Volchkov from the team more ominous. After that, I'm more like, good riddance.
Conversely, even to say remarkably, ESPN2 coverage of the semi-final had to be seen as far superior. Some credit must go to their bringing Chris Evert on board--a breath of fresh air after years of being fed nothing but the Witches' dreck.
Unfortunately, NBC will totally control the delivery of the Olympiad to the States. So at least in the tennis venue, we see what's coming there: reality according to Carillo, Costas & State. Global streams will be a necessity.
It was awesome, anyway! Not a championship, but still Maria plays now very impressive and powerful tennis.
Hi Maria, you're a supergirl, pretty and brilliant. Always you will have my sincere and unconditional friendship.
Well, I think Maria did great overall, true she didn't have to face "big" players on her way to the final, but I wonder what exactly our defintion of big player ? are we talking about the seeded players or the players who perform, because if we really care about the ranking then I guess that means Wozniacki is the best in the world ?! I know.....hilarious !!
So Maria has to be sorry because she had to face Lisicki and not Wozniacki or Na Li ?!!!
This isn't like Man Utd had to face Chelsea, Shalke and Marseille while Barca had to face RM and Arsenal.
I think my point is quite clear.