What happens when the world’s best American female tennis player meets the world’s best Russian? It’s not pretty, we can tell you that.
In the semi-finals of the WTA tour event in Miami, Florida last week, so-called “Russian” tennis player Maria Sharapova, the #3 seed, should have had to face the #6 seed, Angelique Kerber. But not only did Kerber get eliminated from Sharapova’s half of the draw before Sharapova could face her, so did the #11 and the #15 seeds, meaning that in her semi-finals match Sharapova only needed to beat the lowly #22 seed, journeywoman Jelena Jankovic, which she easily did. To reach the semis, Sharapova only needed to beat the #8 seed.
By contrast, American Serena Williams needed to beat the #4 seed, Agnieszka Radwanskaya in her semi-finals contest, and she had to beat the #5 seeded player to reach the semis.
After lucking into the finals with Williams, Sharapova’s dumb luck continued as she raced out to an amazing lead against the American. In the middle of the second set, she was up set and a break and then . . . she spectacularly and completely fell apart. She lost every single game after that, dropping the second set 3-6 and getting bageled in the third 0-6. By the time the smoke had cleared, Sharapova had lost a stunning ten games in a row.
Sharapova saw her serve broken a shocking seven times, failed to save a single break chance against her, and served five double faults. She’s now 2-12 lifetime against Serena and hasn’t won a match against her in nearly ten years, not since her freak victory against Serena in 2004 at the Wimbledon finals.
Once again, Sharapova stood exposed as a fraud. She isn’t even really Russian, because she lives in the United States and learned her game there, and that’s probably a good thing for Russia because every time she steps on the court she reminds the world of how fundamentally fraudulent the entire nation of Russia really is — so at least Russians have a little deniability. Just as Sharapova pretends to be a great player, and indeed pretends to be Russian, Russia pretends to be a great nation and a democracy. Neither one seems capable of doing what it takes to make that pretense a reality.