Originally Posted by Mexicola
I realize it was against 3rd rate talent in Linz, but Azarenka did what you're supposed to do against inferior opponents as a top ranked player, which is destroy them. Another easy title. No dropped sets this week. No dropped sets last week. Vika is in the same kind of zone in the middle of October that she was in back in January-March. So where's her fatigue? That's why I don't want to hear that excuse when it comes to Maria. Maria's game has deteriorated more and more as the year has gone on and she should be called on it, especially when her biggest rival is excelling.
With the exception of the occasional match like she had against Kerber, Maria continues to unload with the DFs, errors, and sloppiness against all opponents, no matter where they're ranked. Always playing down to the competition, instead of wiping the floor with scrubs, which is what she used to do.
It's good to have confidence in Maria and try to be positive, as shown with the changed thread title. But there can be a fine line between confidence and delusion. And the way these two are playing, it's delusional to think Maria will beat Vika, if they play, at the YEC. As much as I loathe Azarenka, I admire how ruthless and effortless she looks dispatching everyone lately. An amazing consistency day after day, match after match. Something we never get any more from Maria.
Maybe I am waving the white flag early, but after seeing what's happened these past two tournaments, I don't even see Serena beating Vika this time. Serena has had too long of a layoff and Vika will be hungry and confident after that tough US Open loss. Seeing her dominate like this makes me even more frustrated with Maria. She needs a great, and I mean REALLY GREAT offseason that she needs to take seriously or she will be in danger of being left in the dust permanently by Vika. I wonder if Maria and her team realize this.
I feel like this is another thing I've said before
but for me, Maria's situation right now feels like pretty much the exact opposite of this time last year. Last year, her game was a shadow of what it's been even at her relatively mediocre tournaments in 2012 (e.g. her level at the US Open, while probably barely in her top half of best tournaments in 2012, would've been comfortably among her best performances in 2011) and consequently I was worried about the YEC simply because I wasn't sure if she could play well enough to beat the top girls, but mentally she seemed almost as tough as ever and would atleast give 100% mentally in matches even if her game wasn't up to the task. Whereas this year, I really do feel gamewise she's at a level that can beat anyone, but mentally I don't trust in her anywhere near as much as I did last year. I'm actually inclined to say her head has been a net liability for Maria's results this year (one of the only times that's been true for Maria, except maybe at times in 2010) -- what big matches can we really say her mental toughness saved her this year, her matches against Kvitova at the AO, Stosur in Stuttgart and against Lisicki at the Olympics? Compared to the countless big matches where she's crapped herself after playing like a boss in the previous rounds.
I dunno, I guess if I had to choose between her having problems with her game or her mind, I'd choose having problems with her mind, purely because she's such a mentally-tough character in general that I'd back her to overcome them even if it takes her a while. I do think it might be worth her while having a couple of sessions with a sports psychologist in the offseason though, just to get her to calm down and not put SO much pressure on herself as she has done at times this year -- this is just my gut instinct, but I still feel that the root of her problems is that in a way she almost wants success TOO much, and something I've learnt myself is that, sometimes, the more you want something, the less likely you actually are to succeed purely because of the pressure you're suffocating yourself with (as paradoxical as that sounds).