Yes, yes, it all seemed so easy and 'matter of fact' and a foregone conclusion. You are all so happy to ignore the fact that her 3 main rivals were missing and any one of them could have pissed in her weenies and spoilt her day. No vika, no Serena and no Na Li. It's so easy to believe Maria is the greatest when those 3 are out of the picture. And, it's also so amazing that she falls to pieces when confronted by them. This and next week we'll see Thomas rushing on to the court to re-screw her head on and re-program her brain if she gets into any difficulties. What would she do without him?.
I haven't debated Philli in a long time, so here's my take:
1) Dunno why one would throw in Li Na. True that Masha has dropped the ball a few times with China-girl, but the head2head is 8-5 Maria's favor. Li is competitive, that's all.
2) Serena would have retired or wound down like her sister by at least a year ago--if someone didn't pump her up with dope to keep her on court as a symbol of the dying Amerikan hegemony. They wanna push her all the way to Rio--and may kill her in the process. Keep watching, you'll see her crash on the court. Takes nothing away from her actual accomplishment to say she is now a mere curiosity. How can one find an authentic rivalry with that?
3) The one to beat is Vika. You know my alternate-world scenario where Chernobyl did not melt down & Sharapova & Azarenka are the girl tennis stars of Belarus? (And like each other no better than Ana & Jelena in Serbia.) There is a point to the fiction: they DO sprout from the same pod. This is, in its own way, a sibling rivalry--and most difficult to resolve.