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Old Jul 19th, 2013, 02:46 PM   #822
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

One thing that bothers me about article after article dissecting Maria's game is that these writers continue to pair Vika with Serena as if Maria struggles equally with both. Maria has NO Vika problem. Any perceived mental block ended in Stuttgart last year. She crushed her there, she should have won in New York, because she was the better player, she beat her easily in Istanbul, and she was the dominant player in Paris. The only reason that match even went 3 was because of Maria herself getting sloppy. Any match aginst these 2 is always on Maria's racquet. If she plays anywhere near her best, Vika gets beaten like a drum every time. That isn't the case with Serena. Even if Maria plays well, she still needs help.

I realize that Aussie Open final in 2012 stands out because it was a major and it was ugly for Maria. And I think this continued misconception that Azarenka "owns" Maria was born from that one match. No doubt she played really badly and it was Vika's breakthrough, so she deserves all the praise. But it was ONE match. And even if you want to go back to those other hard court losses in 2011 and early 2012 as proof of Vika problem, you have to remember that Maria's game still ranged from being a mess to just adequate in those days. If wasn't until the clay season of 2012 where everything finally clicked in. Of course she was going to stumble against a good player like Azarenka with that kind of form.

So when Maria is playing close to her elite level, as she has frequently been over the past 15 months, at best, Vika is even with her, at worst, Maria dominates her. It's only when Maria gets error-prone that she can lose to her. I will continue to laugh at writers who continue to laud Vika as her superior and a "mystery" to Maria. If anything, I see Vika as the one getting more nervous and frustrated with her recent results against Maria. She realizes that Maria can bully her and overpower her whenever she wants if she's playing well and it's getting harder for her to dictate anything.
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