Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oh, how the mighty have fallen

In all of Grand Slamdom (or at the very least, since the Majors started seeding 32 players), has there ever been a two-day stretch like this?

Maria Sharapova's loss to Alla Kudryavtseva has to be one of the most shocking defeats I've ever witnessed. I've been reading the stories (among them Kudryavtseva dissing Sharapova's tux) and I didn't realize Alla has had some moments, like getting to the third at the French last year and almost beating Venus here. I don't know why her ranking has plummeted over the past year, either. Not to take away any credit from her, but if you look at the comment posted by Steve in the previous post, that makes for an interesting storyline. That's a couple of tough losses Sharapova's had in her last two majors. They almost make you forget she won the Australian this year.

And speaking of tough losses: Andy, Andy, ANDY! This loss to Janko Tipsarevic kind of bugs me because I consider myself an A-Rod fan. I'm also bugged because I don't know when, if ever, or where he'll win another big one. Know why I have my doubts? Because he hasn't had the right coaching situation for years. I never was a fan of the Jimmy Connors move, and really, if you look at it, what are his brother's credentials? I've been staying up late at night wracking my brain trying to figure out who he can get for a coach (I may be exaggerating a wee bit, but I have been thinking about it!) and only two names come to mind: Darren Cahill and (you're not gonna like this Andy) Brad Gilbert! A-Rod's still a Hall of Famer as far as I'm concerned, but things can be so much better. Anyway, about today: A big oh-for on break points just can't get it done.

James Blake fell, which I was kind of shocked about. He just beat Rainer Schuettler in straights at the French on his worst surface, so why couldn't he blast him off the court here? Something I've been kind of suspecting after he lost to Juan Carlos Ferrero last year and Max Mirnyi the year before, and falling to Fernando Gonzalez in a Davis Cup tie after being up two sets to nil is that mentally, he's not really that hot on grass. Situations can change quickly on the turf and I don't think he manages it well. That's just my opinion.

Along with those three, another NINE seeds lost between the men and women! However, you want to break it down, that's a lot of losing! We'll see how tomorrow goes!

(Photos: Sharapova, AP; Roddick, Blake: Getty Images)


freakyfrites said...

Hi Van,

Wow, I didn't realize that James had beaten Rainer easily in the recent past OR that Alla Kudryavtseva (whoo, that's a tough name!) has had prio success. Thanks for the insights.

It's been a fun tournament so far - on both the men's and women's sides - don't you think?

IHeartRafa said...

I wonder if it was too late to coach Roddick. He had the last few years to improve his techniques, but I did not see any improvements in any aspects of his game. May be his backhand got improved a bit, but then he still can't volley, still doesn't know what to do at the net. It was frustrating to see him get to the net, make an ugly volley, then got passed. Yes, Jimmy told him to get to the net with his big serves, but then he probably did not make him practice volleys 3 hours a day. And he probably did not tell him what to do after making a volley. So what he has now is what he had 5 years ago: big serves, and nothing else. Even the lethal forehands are not so lethal anymore.

Sampras has skills other than big serves. Roddick has nothing else. That's the difference.

Sorry I have to be so harsh on him. I just don't want to invest my emotion in Roddick anymore...I used to be a fan of him, but my betrayal started in 2005, after I realized that he probably was lost in the media hype, not seeing his own weaknesses.

It is painful for him to achieve so much so young, and then all down hill after that. People said if not for Roger, he would have won lots of slams. I don't agree. I think he would still lose to Hewitt. In Wimbledon. In US Open.

Naf said...

Blake losing early is starting not to surprise me anymore. I think he has a hard time with expectations. Yeah, Kudryavtseva's quote about Sharapova's outfit was great. Of course, it's easy to talk trash AFTER you've won the match ... :)

Shelia said...

What a crazy day. I haven't even updated my blog with the info yet.

Come over to my blog Van, I have something that I think you might like to use.

van said...

• Hey Freakyfrites! I had to do serious research on Kudryavtseva. I don't expect her to exactly make a deep run here, though. It has been a very interesting tournament. I know a lot of brackets picked by the fans have been wrecked, mine included!

• Iheartrafa, I just don't know. The first time I watched Roddick (that match he beat Pete Sampras in in Miami years ago) I said afterward, "that kid is the truth." And he only got better. But the game is passing him by. I would love to see him make a run, but I just don't know when or how it'll happen.

• Yeah, Naf. There's something just not wired right in Blake's head. I don't think it'll happen for him at a major at this point. You can't keep losing five-setters like this. Kudryavtseva will get hers in a round or two: Who is she to talk trash?

• Sheila, I just stopped by. Thank you so much!