Re: YEC 2012 iStanbul Mission: Beat Vika and Serena on the way to the title.
So here is my theory and analysis about Masha and her surprising losses in finals this year - and I'm sure lotsa people won't agree with me - On what is Masha's game build on? - Yes - her ground strokes and fantastic returns but most of all it's build on her serve - Masha once said that after her surgery - she lost the "feel" for her serve - I've also read somewhere that if Masha's serve doesn't work well - she loses confidence and her whole game falls apart
During 2009 until the end of 2011 - she lost matches because of her serve and people have been mocking her for all her DFs - In 2009 and 2010 many "experts" doubted that she would ever make it back to the top 10 - she ended 2010 ranked #18 - In 2011 she ended the year as #4 - but then people were questioning if she ever would win another slam - which is exactly what she did this year - mainly because her serve has been working well most of the time
Masha is however still not comfy with her serve and under pressure - like playing a top player like Victoria and Serena - she has to focus to much on serving well and that maybe is the main reason why the rest of her game deteriorate - ie loads of unforced errors - According to what I've read about a rotator cuff operation in the shoulder - it's a wonder that she plays tennis on such a high level at all - 'cause one loses strength in that shoulder which never can be rebuild again - Masha once said that returning to tennis was like starting all over again and we've seen how slow her come back has been - It took her from 2009 until this year to have some decent results - Her FO 2012 victory this year was mainly because she served well through the whole tournament - So many people - "experts" included - have all sorta well meant advices today - like she needs a plan B whatever that means - Trust me - Masha doesn't need a plan B - she needs to be comfy with her serve - All the pieces in Masha's game are in place except for a "natural coming" serve - I'm sure she's working hard on it - and my hope is that she'll get that "feel" back someday - so that she suddenly just knows that her timing and her hits in the serving moment come natural again and that she doesn't need to think about it that much during a match against a top player and that can trust her serve again - Until that happens - I fear that all Masha can hope for is to be a top 5 player - the #3 at best
BTW - I reviewed the AO QF from 2008 vs Justine Henin the other day and I was amazed by how confident her whole body language was through the entire match - She looks different today when she enters the court to face Victoria or Serena