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.