Maria Sharapova beat the crap out of Nadia Petrova so she was going to give Venus Williams a run for her money and possibly make the semi finals at Stanford according to the hype. What is so vexing about tennis media and they hype they regurgitate is that so much of it is driven by the folks who are paid to, well, hype certain players. No real reportage is being done so if you're someone who checks into the goings on in tennis from time to time you may have thought that Venus was going to come on court sweating about her chances against Maria.
If however you are a tennishead and follow the goings on of tennis for yourself and don't rely on the various bloggers, columnists or announcers for your information you knew that Maria beating Nadia was not news. Not that Nadia doesn't have the ability to beat Maria, that is not the story. The story is that Nadia for some reason goes on walkabout when she plays Maria rolling over and playing dead whenever they play. Honest reporting would've been that Maria pwns Nadia and that her big match would be against Venus Williams who was last seen kicking the stuffing out of Dinara Safina at the Wimbledon semi finals. Yeah there were some WTT losses but are those for real?
Long time fans of Venus know when she comes ready to play. She usually has something resembling a recently deceased furry creature on her head, no make up and no bling. She was premiering a new dress last night and I guess she felt that was enough glamming up for this critical match.
During the match she didn't crack a smile. Her play was simply jaw dropping at times. After demolishing her opponent in the first set Venus chased a laser return from Maria that was past her before she could react. Venus calmly let loose a serve that froze her opponent where she stood and that was all she wrote. Venus took the match 2&2. The talking heads talked about the "new" Sharapova serve that to this observer looks remarkably like the old one to me. They talked about her shoulder and how when she put on a long sleeved shirt over her dress it was done to keep the shoulder warm but in the end it was just so much blah, blah, blah. Sharapova is still double faulting all over the place and many of her shots end up outside the court.
There is a lot of talk about Sharapova being fit for the US Open. She declared herself 100% before Stanford began. Oh, wait, the talking heads meant match fit. My bad. Let's see how many qualifiers and lower ranked players, not to mention the aforementioned Nadia Petrova, are put in her way. There are players like Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki who are not afraid of Maria. They'll be nowhere near her. Wait and see.
There was another player who stunk up the joint at Stanford yesterday. Her name was Serena Williams. Serena wandered onto the court as if she were new to center court play and then played like it. Samantha Stosur played her ass off in what for her was a revenge match but she didn't give Serena anything she shouldn't have been able to handle.
The day before Pam Shriver interviewed Richard Williams and asked him how his daughter was playing. He said "not well". People should listen to Richard Williams.
Hey, this time I'm not a lone voice crying in the wilderness. All of a sudden there are questions popping up about the Legg Mason draw and how if the seeds hold the third round matches would stack up. I saw the draw and wasn't struck by anything unusual but some fans are questioning why #1 will play #16, #2 will play #15, #3 will play #14 and so on. The odds of that happening are apparently 1 in 576.
Accept as a given that "they" want Andy Roddick to make the final. Who do they want to see across the net from him? Tommy Haas? Haas is treated by the American's as one of their own despite the fact that he plays Davis Cup for Germany. Let's just say I don't see a cupcake draw for anyone.
This and That
- Speaking of Haas I did see the "Battle of the Hotties" last night. In case you weren't paying attention that is how they were hyping the Marat Safin vs Haas match last night. Cliff Drysdale said he did an informal poll and that many of the women he asked preferred Haas over Safin. I don't believe it but hey I wasn't there for them to ask. Haas should be someone I drool over but for some reason he leaves me cold. He beat Marat last night by the way.
- Reports are that the Monogram is hitting with Stefan Koubek.
- Who is this Sam Querrey they're hyping as being top ten material? Have you seen him play?
- So someone decided Donald Young needed to be seen playing by more than his family and gave him a WC in Legg Mason. His first round match is against Lleyton Hewitt. I'm just saying.
- Let's define a "young" player. Wozniacki is a young player. Azarenka is a young player. Melanie Oudin, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys are young players. Twenty three year old Dinara Safina is not a young player.
So now the WTA is relying on the natural bitchiness of women to sell its product now? Yes women are naturally bitchy towards each other. Throw in the competitive nature of female athletes and you've got a "Bitches Brew" to use the title of the late Miles Davis seminal work. Pit Jelena Jankovic against, say Marion Bartoli and all you need is the traditional hair braiding and the proverbial jar of vaseline. Those looking for the Slapdown at Stanford were kind of disappointed though as Marion proved she wasn't just talking shit when she said she always beats Jelena. It's almost as if Marion knows how to get under Jelena's skin and appear to be the innocent in the entire affair. Anytime it looked as if Jelena was getting some momentum Marion would call on her coach or leave the court for what is becoming the traditional beginning of the third set bathroom break.
At any rate Marion won and she'll face Samantha Stosur today. Venus is first up playing Elena Dementieva who has more than a serve in her repertoire.