I certainly hope she isn't injured.
But this year we've seen many results like tonight - Maria wins the first set, but goes on to lose in three...
Just browsing through her 2008 results and three-set losses, I quickly counted 9 losses where Maria won the first set, and only 3 losses where she won the second set. Also, when she won a three-set match, she seemed to win the first set more often than losing it.
Which means she often starts out well and does progressively worse.
There could be many explanations for this pattern, like Maria gets tired, she loses her concentration, her opponents are slow starters, or, it could just be a statistical fluke.
But sometimes I get the feeling that maybe Maria's game is a little bit too predictable? With every point, her opponents tune in on her game and can better predict her shots. In short, perhaps she makes her opponents play better and better? I for one don't like the brainless ball-bashing of many players, but there is one good thing to say about burying the ball deep in the net every other point: at least you don't let your opponents improve their game.
Not having seen many of her matches, I can't really say, this is just pure speculation on my part. But maybe some of you that have seen her more and understand a bit more of this than I do, could elaborate a bit on this: what do you think is the main cause of Maria's declining tendency in so many matches? If you even bothered to read this far, that is.
If there is something to it, since Maria does not have the do-or-die ball-bashing winner shots at her disposal, she must at least use variation more, so her oppononets don't figure out her game so quickly. Maybe Maria should hire a professional poker player as a second coach?
Anyway, I am not really satisfied if this is just dismissed as Maria's "mental weakness". Seems a bit too simple for me. To be honest, it tells me nothing, really.