Good News for Russia!

Every once in a while we come across some good news out of Russia, which we are only too pleased to report in order to break the monotony of relentless failure and decline that might otherwise lead to bleak depression. So it is with pleasure that we make note that both of the singles juniors champions at this year’s French Open tournament at Roland Garros in Paris were Russians. Darya Kasatkina took the girl’s title and the interestingly named Andrei Rublev took the boy’s title. The “other” Andrei Rublev was, you may know, the most famous painter of religious icons in Russian history.

Darya Kasatkina, French Open Girls Champion 2014

Darya Kasatkina, French Open Girls Champion 2014

Kasatkina’s victory was the more impressive, since she gutted out a tough three-set match against the number one tournament seed. Kasatkina was seeded #8, and lost the first set in a close tiebreaker but came back to win the next two.

Andrei Rublev, French Open Boy's Champ;ion 2014

Andrei Rublev, French Open Boy’s Champ;ion 2014

Rublev was expected to win his match against a lower-seeded opponent and decisively did so in straight sets.

The icing on this cake for Russia was that Maria Sharapova collected her second French Open title in the ladies’ main draw.  Although Sharapova’s victory was rather hollow since she did not have to face any of the four best players in the world ( Serena Williams, Li Na, Agnieska Radwanska or Victoria Azarenka) in order to take the title and treated fans to her usual festival of unforced errors compensated for by dumb luck (to say nothing of her intolerable shrieking), Sharapova did gut out  a tough three-set match in the finals against the world #4 (albeit a player who had never before appeared in a grand-slam final). It’ wasn’t pretty, though. She struck more double faults and many more unforced errors in the finals than in any prior round. She had 52 unforced errors and 12 double faults in the finals match alone, 211 total unforced errors and 43 total double faults in the tournament, and her diminutive finals opponent broke the giant Russian’s serve seven times.

So we say “formidable!” and “felicitations!” to Russian tennis fans for their multiple triumphs on the red clay! Hopefully they will take inspiration from these victories to consider the possibility that Russia may be capable of something better than Vladimir Putin.


Russians Down Under. Way, way down.

No, dear, He's not going to help you.

No, dear, He’s not going to help you.

Russia put five male players and seven female players into the singles draws at this year’s first grand slam tennis event, the Australian Open.

By the end of the first week of the tournament, not one male player was still alive and among the women only Maria Sharapova, who has lived in the USA since she was a child and learned her game there, had survived.

Other than Sharapova, the only Russian singles player to reach the tournament’s fourth round was Ekaterina Makarova, who there faced Chinese opponent Li Na. The pair played fourteen games and Na won twelve of them, including every game in the second set.

On the women’s side, Russians Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva lost in easy straight sets in the first round, while Alla Kudravsteva and Svetlana Kuznetsova lost in similarly one-sided straight set contests in the second.  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova got as far as the third and was the most credible in defeat, pushing her opponent to a third set before surrendering meekly there, 2-6.

As for the men, things were similarly ugly.  Alex Bogomolov simply quit after being crushed in the first two sets of his opening match.  Nikolay Davydenko, Dmitry Tursunov and Mikhail Youzhny all went down in the second round, with only Youzhny and Tursunov managing to produce competitive matches. Both were seeded in the draw and booted out by lowly unseeded opponents.  As with the women, the standout among the Russian men wasn’t really a Russian at all but one Teymuraz Gabashvili, who reached the third round before going out in straight sets to court legend Roger Federer.  Ask any Slavic Russian whether someone named “Teymuraz Gabashvili” can be considered Russian, and you’ll see that Russia can hardly claim credit for this modest achievement.

So once again, Russia was left in the pathetic position of having its national tennis honor defended by a player, Sharapova, who is about as Russian as Levi’s.

To say the least, Sharapova wasn’t up to the task. Indeed, her level of play was truly appalling. In her first three matches, Sharapova tossed in a shocking 29 double faults and struck a nauseating 130 unforced errors.

And just remember dear reader, this is the very best Russia has to offer. Do you dare imagine what you’d find if you studied the worst?

Consider this:  Sharapova, seeded #3, had one-third more double faults and only four fewer unforced errors than the #1 and #2 seeds combined in the first three rounds of the tournament.  It was truly an embarrassment, even by Sharapova’s wretched standards.

In other words, as has been the case so often throughout her checkered career, Sharapova moved forward in the tournament by sheer dumb luck, because she happened to face opponents who were even more pathetic than her.

But all good luck must come to an end.

In the fourth round, Sharapova found herself facing off against the diminutive #20 seed, Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, who stands more than a foot shorter than Sharapova.  The pair split the first two sets and then Sharapova promptly fell apart, taking only one of the seven games played in the deciding set.  With eight double faults and 45 unforced errors, Sharapova brought her totals to 37 and 175 respectively, over the course of just four matches.

And then there were none. Not one Russian player, male or female, managed to get as far as the quarterfinals at the year’s first grand slam event.

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Another New Low for Maria Sharapova


Russia is that singular nation where no matter how low it sinks today, tomorrow it will do something so wretched you will unable to believe you thought it was low before.

And Maria Sharapova is the poster child for Russia in this regard.

In the space of one week, the world saw Sharapova file papers in court seeking to change her name to Sugarpova for the two weeks of the U.S. Open in a shameless effort to promote her failing line of artificially flavored and colored sweets, then realize how totally outrageous her scheme was and withdraw it, and then saw her withdraw from the Open itself, claiming a shoulder injury.

Maybe the real reason Sharapova withdrew from the U.S. Open is that she was too ashamed to show her face there after her humiliating PR gambit in the hopes of achieving even greater personal wealth which she does not need, already being one of the highest-paid female athletes in the world.  Or maybe she does have an injury; if so, maybe it’s because she spends far too little time training and far too much seeking to build her candy empire. Either way, clearly, the last thing on her mind these days is tennis.

Sharapova in Paris

He's not going to help you, dear.

He’s not going to help you, dear.

If you were to learn that in a semi-final match at the French Open this year one of the players served a ghastly 11 double faults, had her serve broken five times in three sets (nearly twice per set) and tossed in a stunning 39 unforced errors, you’d probably speculate we were speaking about the loser of the match.

But no, it’s the “winner” of the match we were referring to.  Despite this horrific level of play Maria Sharapova, perhaps the luckiest human ever born to live, still managed to defeat her opponent Victoria Azarenka and reach the finals of this grand-slam event.

But maybe you think play this shoddy had to have been a freak occurrence? Hardly. In the match before it, Sharapova “defeated” Jelena Jancovic despite making even more unforced errors than she had against Azarenka, a whopping 45 of them, 15 more than she hit winners.  This time, her serve was broken “only” four times rather than five, so slight improvement there to make up for it.  But that didn’t prevent Sharapova from losing every single game in the first set against an opponent not even ranked in the world’s top 15 players.

In case you are keeping count, that’s EIGHTY-FOUR UNFORCED ERRORS in just two matches prior to the finals. Yet she still won.  For contrast, in her two matches before the finals Serena Williams had less than half as many unforced errors.

Sharapova ‘s luck didn’t stop there, though.

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Once Again, Sharapova Exposed as Fraud


On January 18, 2013, Daniel Sanford of the BBC breathlessly tweeted: “In-form Maria Sharapova wipes Venus Williams off the court at Australian Open 6-1, 6-3.”

Six days later, still on the Sharapova band wagon, he gushed:  “Maria Sharapova beats fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova to reach Australian Open semi-finals.”

But he was strangely silent on January 24th. That’s when Sharapova met her very first tough, serious opponent in draw, one Na Li from China.  And though ranked well below Sharapova, the Chinese opponent blew Sharapova off the court in easy straight sets, breaking Sharapova’s serve five times and allowing her to win only four of 16 games played.

In form? Sharapova tossed in a whopping 32 unforced errors and added a revolting six double faults.  The much more diminutive Chinese player, who had won only four of twelve prior contests with the Russian, decisively whipped Shamapova in every aspect of the game, exposing the Russian’s route to the semi-finals for the fraud it was.

Two of the three Russians who reached the quarter finals at the Aussie this year turned in disgraceful performances there, and the only reason one reached the semi finals was that two met each other in the quarters.  Sharapova, surely one of the luckiest humans who ever lived, faced the second-lowest seeded player to reach the quarters, and in the fourth round was lucky enough to be one of only four players in the round of 16 to face an unseeded opponent.  Each and every opponent she met before the semi-finals simply collapsed and handed her the match.  When she finally met someone not quite so obliging, she herself collapsed like a house of cards.

Sharapova isn’t even a real Russian. She left her country when a young child and chooses to live in the USA, though her massive wealth would allow her to live anywhere. To the extent she can play tennis at all, it’s because of American teachers, and she virtually never goes home for a visit. She’s married to a non-Russian.  As if to confirm this, and add insult to injury, she was booted off the Russian national tennis team.

To be fair, Sanford wasn’t the only one to totally miss the boat on Shamapova, plenty of other journalists did too: Check out this idiot for example claiming that “champagne Sharapova” had “plenty left in the tank.”  But Sanford is one of those reporters we watched breathlessly misreport the Russian opposition movement, claiming it was changing Russia forever when in fact it was doing no such thing. So it’s particularly important to point out he’s still ranging far from the path of truth.

There simply aren’t that many places you can read the truth about Russia from folks who actually understand the place. Fortunately for you, this is one of them.  If you had been following our coverage of Maria’s misadventures, you wouldn’t have been the least surprised by what happened in the semis at this year’s Aussie Open.

The Decline and Fall of Russian Women’s Tennis

At the U.S. Open this year, Russia started out with ten women in the singles draw and just a puny four of them seeded.    The draw sheet symbolized the virtual disappearance of Russian players, who some not long ago were claiming would “dominate” the sport, from the top ranks of the women’s game; Russia has only one player, Maria Sharapova, ranked in the top 10 in the world, and Sharapova lives and learned to play tennis in the USA.

By the time play had concluded, Russia’s decimated ranks had done nothing to salvage Russian honor.

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Shame and Disgrace for Sharapova at London 2012

In order to make it to the gold-medal game at the London 2012 Olympics, American superstar Serena Williams needed to defeat Jelena Jankovic in the opening ground.  Jankovic is a former world #1, currently ranked #18. She has appeared in three grand-slam semifinals matches.

In that same round, so-called “Russian” Maria Sharapova only needed to defeat Shahar Peer.  Peer is currently ranked #58 in the world and has never ranked higher than #13 in her career. Peer has never once in her life been in a grand-slam semi.

This pattern continued throughout the tournament.  Williams then had to defeat current #13 and former world #2 Vera Zvonareva, who has appeared in two grand-slam finals.  Next was former world #1 Caroline Wozniaki, followed by current world #1 Victoria Azarenka, both current top-10 players.

And Sharapova?

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Pseudo-Russian Carries Russian Flag in London

It has been announced that so-called “Russian” Maria Sharapova will carry the flag for Russia at the opening ceremony of the summer Olympics this year in London.

Can Russia sink any lower?  Maria Sharapova repudiated her country long, long ago. She traveled to the USA as a child and that is where she learned to play professional tennis, from American teachers.  She never returned to Russia to reside, and she is going to marry a non-Russian.  She is a full-time resident of the United States, where she owns real estate and pays taxes. She has hardly ever played for the Russian team, and when she has done so it has been without distinction.  She virtually never visits or spends time in Russia, much less does she even consider such a thing as living there.  When she speaks on the tennis court, she speaks English.

What’s more, Sharapova is an absolute scam, as we have said many times she should be called Shamapova.  Her so-called “victories” have come only due to pure dumb luck, when she has appeared in tournaments and watched all her serious competition fall by the wayside of its own accord, no thanks to her own wretched, one-dimensional play.  Even worse is her godawful, appalling, unbearable screeching on the court, which gives a bad name to the women’s game as much as her unwatchable play.

Is this really the best person Russia can offer the world to represent it at the Olympics? If so, that is a sad commentary on the state of this pathetic country. What about all the real Russian athletes, who live and train in Russia and work with coaches who do the same?  They have every right to be outraged by this absolutely insane decision on the part of Russia’s Olympic Committee, and to feel that their country is an even more hopeless mess than ever.

Sharapova Collapses at the All-England Club

On Day 7 at the All-England club, tournament organizers had a choice:  Who to put on Centre Court, the #1 woman in the world, and the reigning French Open champion, playing the #15, or the #2 playing the #14.

Apparently, it was a no-brainer.  The club thought that Victoria Azarenka, #2, would play a far better match than the #1, so-called “Russian” Maria Sharapova, so Sharapova was relegated to Court 1. It was a painful public humiliation for Russia’s “best” player.

But Wimbledon was wrong.  Azarenka blew her opponent off the court in straight sets, with her #14-ranked rival taking just one game.  The match involving Sharapova was a bit more competitive, with the straight-set loser claiming seven games instead of just one.

And Sharapova’s match was more dramatic for another reason:  The so-called “best” player in the women’s game was the loser. In a match that lasted just 84 minutes, Sharapova saw her serve broken four different times by a player not even ranked in the world’s top 10, and she won barely half of the points on which she got her first serve into play.

And Sharapova didn’t just lose the match and the chance at a grand slam title. She also lost her #1 ranking, after holding it for just one month, the same situation that prevailed the last time she held the top spot. She won’t even hold #2, which will be taken over by the current #3 who reached the Wimbledon finals. Ouch.

Sharapova’s brutal triple humiliation at Wimbledon proves how right we were when we reported that her ascending to the #1 ranking due to recent tournament wins in  Rome and Paris was nothing more than the same dumb luck that has characterized her entire career. Sharapova coasted through both of those tournaments never having to face a serious match from a top-ranked opponent.  As soon as she faced tough opposition at Wimbledon, she folded up like a house of cards.

Roland Garros Recap: Russian Ruin and Starstruck Sharapova

In a shocking confirmation of how quickly and how low Russian women’s tennis has fallen, there was only one Russian woman in the top 20 seeds at this year’s French Open tournament at Roland Garros, and only four Russian women were among the grand slam event’s 32 seeds.   A country that just a few years ago routinely accounted for a quarter of seeds and multiple top-ten entries has fallen from grace in a jaw-dropping manner.

Two of the four seeds, Pavlyuchenkova and Petrova, lost in the third round of the tournament, leaving only #2 Maria Sharapova and #26 Svetlana Kuznetsova to hold up the national flag in the fourth round.

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