Down Under Day 1: Smothering Shriekie.


My first time seeing Maria Sharapova live turned out to be some sort of vision of dystopia.

Between the bizarre wintry weather in the middle of summer and excessive rain delays turning Rod Laver Arena into a circus, Sharapova and Kirilenko managed put on a match that exhibited everything I hate about the WTA merry-go-round.

There was shrieking. There were double faults and chokes. There were a third of the spectators leaving mid-match. And there was the uninspiring, awful tennis accompanied by the groans of a tortured crowd.

To make matters worse, Sharapova turned up to the match wearing seaweed. 

 

 

Sometimes, you just have no excuse.

If Maria Sharapova was the sort of player that lived by the sword and died by the sword, she certainly committed tennis suicide today. I saw a 3 hour match that was ultimated decided by unforced errors rather than winners – 77 unforced errors from Sharapova to 45 winners. Kirilenko wasn’t exactly shiny either – 41 errors to 26 winners. 

Sharapova had no business losing the first set, having led by a break, had multiple chances to go up a double break, and lead through most of the tiebreak. But she did. 

Kirilenko should’ve served out the match. She should not have played so conservatively through the second set and at 5-3 in the third set. But she didn’t know how to win any other way.

The crowd came back for the final games and sided with the babydoll-looking MariKiri. It probably bolstered her fight. In the end, it took a shocking game of errors and double faults from Sharapova to end all our misery, and MariKiri pulled off the first “upset” of the year – 76(4) 36 64. 

 


Eff off. You don’t get a free pass from me for being pretty. 

In her prodigious career, I don’t remember Sharapova ever disappointing me. I’ve never watched a match of hers where she didn’t walk off the court with her head held high. Win or lose. 

Today that slate is no longer clean. 

Having said all that, kudos for handling the press conference with class. If the world wants to hate a successful young woman with guts and talent, the world has problems. 

But you didn’t need me to tell you that. 

 

Q. Where is your level of disappointment, or do you just chalk it up, It’s first round of a Grand Slam, that can happen first round of a slam?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I could be disappointed or I could just take it as it is and just go back on the court and just keep working.

I choose option two (smiling).

Q. What do you say to yourself now in order to recover, let’s say, psychologically from a defeat which is painful, I guess?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, that it’s a bad day and you have to get on with your life. You know, there are many worse situations in life. There are people that don’t even know what a tennis match is in the world.

You know, just a bad day. A bad day’s not going to stop me from doing what I love. I’m still gonna go back on the court and work hard and perform. I’ll be back here on a Saturday of the second week, so you’ll watch.

 

Back to the practice court for you, girlfriend. That serve, the lateral movement … just work on everything and make my tennis universe normal again, okay?

In stark contrast to the first match, the second match on Rod Laver Arena had spectators trampling back in herds. Kim Clijsters bonecrushed Valerie Tetrault for her afternoon tea, 60 64. Mama Kim loves them young and inexperienced.

While Tetrault took a bagel to get used to the flashing lights of Rod Laver Arena, she eventually settled down in the second set and pulled off some well-constructed points. Until 4-all was all she could hang on until.

Kim was just too solid, too immune to the errors, double faults, brainfarts, and utter mediocrity that plagued the Kiri v Shaz match. The crowd appreciated it too, cheering for both players through the second set, and sending Kim many an adoring gaze. 

Oh yeah, I saw some Scottish player blitz through his match too. Forgot the name. Can’t give you a picture either because he had fluro armpits. 

xx doots

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12 responses to “Down Under Day 1: Smothering Shriekie.”

  1. bridgepea says :

    For my money I just dont think Sharapova is as invested in tennis as people would want us to think. Her whole manner out there on court was one of “I dont care. I am Sharapova”. It is like she expects to win on her name alone. That only works if your name is Serena Williams. These days she hardly plays warm up tournaments and frankly she has been getting a pass on this in the media.

    • dootsiez says :

      Can’t say I agree bridgepea, I actually find Sharapova more invested in tennis than most people give her credit for.

      With the exception of quite early in her career, she’s never played warm up tournaments before the Australian Open, and it’s done her well given her records down under.

      I always think win or lose, Sharapova has one of the best on-court personas. Even Serena gets negative when she’s playing badly, but Sharapova goes out of her way to stay calm and positive. Not easy to do when nothing’s working for you.

  2. Jack says :

    😦 😦 😦 Thanks to Maria, I went to my exam in a shitty mood.

    I’m really upset that she lost. And from the sound of it, she playing f’ing shit! I had such high hopes for the AO too! And the loss is more annoying because I keep thinking back to the 08 AO and how she played there. Plus first match of the year 😦 I’m not gonna freak out though and says she’s finished because I believe she’s too good a player not to win another Slam. Plus, I’d rather her win Wimby or FO this year!!

    Now I’m not gonna say his name in fear of jinxing but if a certain person loses to Mr Kirilenko tomorrow, this will officially be the worst Grand Slam ever!!!

  3. Jack says :

    just a quick question doots, are Maria’s shrieks really as loud as everyone says they are??

    • FortuneCookie says :

      I’ve seen her play live (when she lost to Dulko at Wimbly last year),and YES they are,especially when she’s losing!
      The volume went up so much when she was 5-4 down final set that people started sniggering when she hit the ball…

    • dootsiez says :

      Actually, maybe cos Rod Laver Arena’s bigger than the Wimby Centre Court, I found Sharapova “quieter” live than she was on TV with the on-court mikes.

      Kirilenko’s grunts were really annoying by the end of the third set though. She tends scream an octave higher whenever she hit a winner in the third set.

      Blech.

  4. Chariman, Federer Puny Left Arm Society says :

    Tomic won today. Now, he really needs to be considered for Davis Cup. LOL.

    He is doing better than our own Donald Young. So I will shut up.

  5. JFK says :

    Maria 😦 she was really struggling. Should’ve played real tournaments instead of exhibitions.

  6. TopSpin says :

    Not a great start to 2010 but anyone leaking 77 UFEs has no business winning Slam matches be they as eminent as Shaza or anyone else.

    Its a shame really – you get the feeling she might have upped her form had she got thru this opener unscathed.

    Full credit to MK though – I only saw the first set, which looked to me to be the best I’ve seen her play. Guess no one kept that level up.

  7. freakyfrites says :

    HI Dootsiez!

    Just wanted to check in and wish you luck for your ushering gig. I did it once at a little tournament and it is hard work. But hopefully you get to see lots of great tennis for free and strike up a close, personal friendship with Roger Federer while you’re at it.

    I guess I was lucky that ESPN2 kept leaving the Marias’ match – it does sound a little torturous in its entirety. The snippets I saw were pretty dramatic, though.

    I like the image of Maria Sharapova as some kind of floundering sea goddess in a seaweed gown. Suddenly the dress makes sense. . .

    • dootsiez says :

      Thanks freaky! I’ve only been assigned to Rod Laver and Hisense this year, so hopefully, I’ll get some great matches later this week to compensate the sheer exhaustion.

      Don’t mention Maria. I’m not happy with that gal. >:O

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