Re: Peak Venus VS Peak Maria
You guys suggesting Peak Venus would beat Peak Maria on slow surfaces should watch this highlights video of their match in Miami 2005.
And yes, I concede that Maria is closer to her peak here than Venus is (though it should be noted that this is one of Venus's better non-grass tournaments since 2003, seeing as she was on the high of beating Serena for the first time in 4 years in the very match before this), but it still gives an illustration of roughly how this match-up would work on these surfaces peak vs. peak:
Particularly watch the points at 1:42, 3:19, 4:19, 4:58, 6:25, 7:00. All these points, Venus hits serves/returns/groundstrokes that would've been clean winners or unreturnables on a super-quick surface, but because the surface is so slow, Maria is able to scrape them back into play -- and as soon as the rally gets to neutral, Maria becomes a heavy favourite due to how much more consistent she is in medium/long rallies. Even though Venus is able to chase down a lot of Maria's shots, the placement of her defensive shots is just far too tame and predictable to knock Maria off her stride or stop her doing what she wants to do with the ball.
And, btw, when people talk about Maria being more consistent than Peak Venus, they don't JUST mean she makes less errors - it also refers to the fact Peak Maria's average rally ball would be much more purposeful than Peak Venus's, typically being placed much closer to the baseline and/or using the width of the court more. Venus, even when at her very peak, her typical gameplan would be to try and blitz the point with 1 or 2 huge shots, but if that didn't work, her rally ball would become much more tentative -- particularly her forehand would start dropping a LOT of short shots, because it just was never technically capable of hitting huge shot after huge shot in long rallies. Peak Maria not only didn't have those technical glitches in her strokes, she also would have eaten up those short balls that Peak Venus would supply her with. Peak Venus could only have beaten Peak Maria if she kept the points as short as possible and used her more explosive first strike - she'd have been able to do it on grass and superquick hardcourts, but on slow surfaces, the surface just doesn't give you enough traction to be able to keep EVERY point short no matter how powerful you are, as Venus herself found out with her total LACK of big wins over top players on slow surfaces even when at her absolute peak.
So yeah, that Miami match is roughly how I'd expect a Peak Venus-Peak Maria match to pan out on slow hardcourts, except with Peaknus's superior serve getting her a few more games than she did in this match or maybe even sneaking out a set. And it would be the same story on clay to an even greater extent.