I understand that Serena at her best is obviously better than Sharapova.
However, I don't think their lopsided H2H can simply be put down to "Serena is a better tennis player", because if that were the only critera, then Serena would never lose a match since she has been arguably the best tennis player for the majority of her career.
Come on now. Could you say the same about Federer vs Roddick. Roddick did win a couple as well. But everyone concludes that "Federer is a better tennis player"
For example, I think Serena is better than Victoria Azarenka, yet Azarenka was able to go 2-2 with Serena this year.
Azarenka has a winning record against Sharapova as well. Also she has quite a bit better return of serve, defense, and ability to counterpunch. She also has one 2 slams in 2 years. A top player on tour
Serena has also had freak losses to many other lower ranked players.
Every player has. Date-Krumm beat Sharapova in 2010. De Brito this season. Azarenka to Petkovic this year as well.
Why is it that someone as good as Sharapova (while still not as good as Serena) hasn't even managed 1 win in the last 13 meetings?
I think it's not only because Serena has more weapons offensively and defensively, but also because she can "read" Sharapova's game very well. She knows when and where Sharapova is going to hit shots and she dominates on return and serve.
Does Serena always bring her "A" game when playing Sharapova? Does Sharapova crumble? Is it a combination of the two?
If Serena brings her A game it's always been a wash, Aussie 2007, Stanford 2011, Madrid 2012, Olympics 2012, etc. The game is entirely in her hands.
Istanbul 2012, Doha 2013 were really B level play, high percentage of the ground, shepherded her serve well (she always manages aces against Maria). Maria played her best (at least against Serena) in Miami and French Open, but when Serena raised her level it was just too much. Even then for Sharapova to play well, she has to be nigh on perfect in break points converted and in breakpoints saved.