Russia Crashes and Burns in Flushing Meadows

Luckily, Maria Kirilenko has a backup plan in case tennis does not work out.

Luckily, Maria Kirilenko has a backup plan in case tennis does not work out.

How tennis times have changed.

Remember the  bold talk among the Russophile jackasses of how Russian women were going to “dominate” the game?  As the U.S. Open got underway last week in Flushing Meadows, New York, Russia did not have one player seeded in the top ten and had only one player in the top 19.

By Friday evening at the end of the first week, it was clear that at most two of Russia’s six seeded players could get as far as the quarterfinals.  Russia’s second-highest seed, Nadia Petrova (#20), lost in the first round to an unseeded opponent.  Its third-highest seed Elena Vesnina (#22) lost in the second round to an unseeded opponent, and its lowest seed Anastasia Pavalyuchenkova (#32) lost to the #3 seed in the third round.

This left the country’s top seed, #14 Maria Kirilenko as well as the #24 seed Ekaterina Makarova, and the #27 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova as Russia’s last hopes of denting the upper echelons of the tournament.  But Kirilenko and Kuznetsova were drawn against each other in the fourth round, so only two of the three could have made the quarters.

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Spectacular Russian Failure at Wimby

Based on the draw at the All-England Club, at least three Russian women should have made the round of 16 this year at the world’s most important tennis tournament:  Maria Sharapova (#3), Maria Kirilenko (#10) and Nadia Petrova (#16).

But why be so pessimistic? Why couldn’t Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (#21) or Elena Vesnina (#22) or Elena Makarova (#27) have played heroically and taken out a higher ranked player or two? Shouldn’t Russia have hoped to have four or five players vying for spots in the quarterfinals?

Yes, they should. But when the rubber met the road not one Russian woman did so. Not. One.

Two Americans reached the round of 16.  A British woman made recent history and did so as well. But. Not. One. Russian.

Sharapova was booted out of the tournament in the second round in easy straight sets by a player not ranked in the world’s top 130.

Kirilenko did even worse, losing her very first match of the tournament to an unseeded rival.  Petrova did the same. Both Russians lost in easy straight sets, just like Sharapova. Not only did they lose, in other words, they lost disgracefully and pathetically.

Makarova was the only one of six seeded Russian players who didn’t humiliate her country; she managed to reach the third round and lost there to a much higher seed, pushing her opponent to a third set.

So once again, Russia was exposed as a total fraud when it comes to women’s tennis.  Another year, another epic collapse by the Russians. And let’s not forget that Russia’s “best” player, Sharapova, doesn’t even live in Russia and didn’t learn her game there, she emigrated to the USA as a child and hardly ever returns to Russia.

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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