Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sharapova defeats Dementieva in Stanford

In the all-Russian quarterfinal played last night in Stanford, 2nd seed Elena Dementieva and 5th seed Maria Sharapova engaged in a baseline challenge that had both of them playing inconsistently and making quite a few errors. Dementieva's service motion looked like something she picked up from the Bartoli school, though, at times--when it looked the most awkward--it worked for her. Sharapova demonstrated improved movement throughout the match, and she and Dementieva did provide fans with some dramatic rallies. Even on their not-so-good days, these two display talent.

It took them 2 hours and 47 minutes to play the match, and when it was over, the 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 victory belonged to Sharapova. The 5th seed double-faulted 15 times, however, so there is still an issue with her serve.


Sunny nine said...

It seemed that Sharapova had an issue with her serve more than Dementieva. But despite the problems from both players, it was an entertaining, hard-fought match. I was rooting for both. Sharapova wants to get back to where she was before, contending for majors. Dementieva is coming off an injury and the loss of her Major attendence streak so it would have been nice for her to proceed. But there are no draws in tennis. I wondered about that serve of Dementieva. Was that a glitch that looked like Bartoli because Elena had been unable to practice for awhile? Or was it some new serve she has been secretly working on? I guess we will see the rest of the summer.

TennisAce said...

Sunny, they both should have lost that match. It was a travesty. At one point I was of the view that they should both start the rallies by just trading ground strokes.

I wrote a piece a while back on timing and rhythm on the serve. Every single time I look at these women serving, I have to remember that article that I wrote. It is really bad to see tour veterans playing a match and serving up double figure double faults. What is even worse is when the commentators make excuses for it.

Dementieva has gone back to side arming her serves. Whether it was because of the opponent that she was playing or she has lost confidence on the new motion that she had last year when she served up a storm in her semi against Serena at Wimbledon, but this serve will not get her very far in tournaments.

Can I start a petition to end on court coaching? I doubt if it will get much traction, but I really want to see it go. Seeing Michael Joyce up in the stands like some form of svengali type, shouting instructions to Sharapova, telling her to eat a banana, telling her to get into Elena's head by pumping herself up just left a sour taste in my mouth over the whole match.

We saw the No. 1 player go through an entire tournament showing us how it can be done with an effective serve. Today, we saw the other side of the coin. How to win ugly?

Diane said...

I wish we could put together an effective petition that would really get the tour's attention. On-court coaching is the worst idea ever, and I'm sick of hearing "the fans like it." I would like to see a study that proves that fans like it.

The tour brags about its commitment to "equality," but it also undermines equality on a consistent basis, from the language it uses to the images it displays to the travesty of on-court coaching.

It was especially disheartening to see someone like Sharapova being told what to do.

Ben said...

It really was an exceptional battle, Sharapova's coaching aside.

I think she'll overpower Radwanska in two sets to get to the finals.

TennisAce said...

Diane, I thought that with the way they promote Sharapova as this uber competitor that she would be the player least likely to use on court coaching, but she uses it even more than some players who the media describes as mentally weak.

The thing with Sharapova's on court coaching stints is that it tells folks like me who are watching that she really is not as mentally tough as she appears out there. In fact, she is almost mentally fragile. Being told to eat a banana. Being told to pump yourself up and even worse being told how to play to an opponent against whom you have a h2h of 8-3 is just sad.

I know Radwanska perhaps does not stand a chance in tonight's match but I am so rooting for her. I hope she serves like she did against Kirilenko. Her serve seems to have more pop on it and between her and Azarenka either one of them winning this title would make me very happy.

I think we perhaps do need to start a petition of some kind to end this travesty. Most fans with whom I speak do not like it and on many message boards where women's tennis is discussed, they do not like it. It just has to end. It must end.

TennisAce said...

Diane, how about starting a Facebook/Twitter page calling for the end of on court coaching in the WTA? I would sign up right away

Sunny nine said...

Yea, sign me up to sign a petition and my husband will also because he got disgusted with the situation last night. He just think it makes the women look like "babies." And the banana thing, I heard that last year when Joyce was on-court coaching her. In fact I have heard it several times and am beginning to think it is code for something. Paranoia :). You are right, Karen, I just did not expect that when Sharapova was playing more last year that she would give into on-court coaching. I don't think I have ever seen Dementieva have her mother come on court or anyone else. It is just sad and the longer it is done, then younger women are going to use it regularly instead of thinking for themselves. Yes about the serving. I didn't mean to downplay it. With 15 double faults I don't think Sharapova should have won but that is what often happens in this crazy game of tennis. I just still wonder about Dementieva and why she came back from injury time out with this serve.

Diane said...

I don't do Facebook and Twitter but if someone wants to start one, I would participate on that page only. What, of all the venues, would draw the most people? I don't think women's tennis is big enough for anything to be truly "viral," but probably anything would help. You can do online petitions, too, and they can be sent to the parties who should read them.

TennisAce said...

Diane, I will have a think about it this weekend and see what I can come up with. This travesty must end. It is Larry Scott's lasting legacy and frankly it was instituted because of the blatant cheating (coaching from the stands that was going on between players and their coaches).

I have noticed that in Istanbul the umpires have been very vocal about giving warnings to players who are receiving on court coaching. They are also very vocal about giving warnings for time wasting and all sorts of things. I am hopeful that this situation will go viral, just as how foot fault calling went viral at last year's US Open.