But the Maria of 05/6 wasn't as consistent, winning so many matches, or making as many finals as the Maria post Thomas is. Serena just stepped it up, and when she's on, she's on. I mean she played a horrible match in the Doha final and still managed to push Vika who was playing at her peak.
I do agree though, Maria was playing a little bit too defensive in the 3rd set, and she just seemed deflated. She had a very competitive match with Serena at Wimbledon '10 mainly because she was being hyper agressive and not getting into any rallies. It's the exact same thing she did to Vika last year at Stuttgart, the Championships and the 1st set of her US semi.... i feel she needs to adopt the same hyper agressive strategy against Serena and just hit through her.
That's true, he's made Maria more consistent. Though He hasn't made her a better aggressor. Her consistent play these days is enough against most of the tour, enabling her to get through to all these finals... then she gets to the final, meets the top guns in form and usually gets hammered. The price of her new found consistency is less aggression and outright power, which really doesn't do her any favours against the best ball-strikers. Even in 2010 (under Joyce) she went down with more fight than nowadays. Wimbledon 2010, like you mentioned, a great fight from Maria. Henin RG 2010. Kim Cincinnati 2010, etc... Now when she loses it's either in breadsticks or bagels.
Maria was very consistent in 2005/2006 though, arguably more so when it mattered – she reached at least the semi-final of every major those two years (excluding the french), and when she lost those matches she went down in 3 set epics or at least tight matches. Now…. It’s over pretty quick. A lot of her fans consider those years her peak years. 2006 was definitely her best year IMO. She won 5 titles IIRC. Last year she may have reached more finals but she only won 3. And plus, the field back then was peak WTA. Now it’s Maria, Vika, Serena and the rest of the tour. I don’t think we can really compare those years.
I'd much rather her be less consistent and yet have a better win/loss ratio in finals (since the injury it's been dreadful) and against top players. The Maria of old was definitely a more respected player... she certainly would have never had lost the Olympic final in the fashion that she did, nor the AO final of last year. And the two times that she has beaten Azarenka, Azarenka has had some sort of injury. I'm not saying those injuries were true, as Azarenka is known for being a bit of a cheat and loves to retire/withdraw, but still. It's telling.
And yeah, Maria's performance in the first half of the match was great. She just seems to revert into a more passive mind set these days when things get tough, which I think is down to Thomas for him trying to make her more tactical but that's not the type of player Maria is. She has to dominate if she wants to win, not wait for forehand errors.
Very good Danny. This is something that Maria might need to do to be a better player and should be good in a long term. So this is maybe a sacrifice that she needs to accept. Although I'M certain that if she put a little more efforts on the 2nd set, she could have won. The meltdown start 3-2 I believe.
Well it's over now, let's move on and hope she'll do as good as last year on clay.
I completely agree with you 100%
I still feel that Maria would have not won the French last year without Thomas making her a much more fit, consistant and intelligent player. I mean Serena hasn't made a FO final in nearly a decade, so clearly the hyper agressive players don't do too well on the clay. It's why we saw Errani reach the final last year, and Henin be so dominant on the surface.
Whilst yes, Thomas i feel has taken a bit away from Maria on hardcourts and grass, he's definitely made her a much more COMPLETE player.
I expect her to do very well during the clay court season, hopefully defend a title or two. Winning back to back FO would be the cherry on the cake, and i feel she definitely has what it takes.
Don't expect the hyper agressive Maria of 05-06 to be back anytime soon, she's long gone. Whether that's a good or bad thing, i'm not exactly sure..... only time will tell.