2010 is over. It's off-season. And I thought of this a couple of days ago.
For me, this season SCREAMS "missed opportunities".
I'll try to give some short comments on all the matches Masha lost but could have won this year.
Starting off at the AO. R1 vs Kiri 7-6 3-6 6-4.
Maria goes up a break fast in the first set and had numerous chances to win it but then fucked up in the TB.
Won the second set quite swimmingly but lost momentum yet again in the third. Came back from 5-2 down eventually (I think) to mess it up at 4-5. Not taking anything away from lil' Masha though, she played a tremendous match.
W/UE count: 45/66. DFs: 11. BP conversion: 5 out of 16.
Indian Wells. R3 vs Zheng 6-3 2-6 6-3.
Maria barely scrapes through her second round against Dushevina. And plays a close to horrid match against Jie.
Loses first set easily, but claws back in second. Breaks early in the third set to take a small but normally decisive lead. Then the serve and ground game falls apart and Maria chokes her lead.
Although later was revealed she had an elbow injury. Now imagine if she would have won this match and went deeper in the draw, this could have lead to aggravating the injury and being out for longer than "just" 2 months.
French Open. R3 vs Henin 6-2 3-6 6-3.
Henin comes out firing, Maria plays subpar which results in a easy first set for Henin. Masha then shows her fighting spirit and plays her (in my opinion) most intense, aggressive and impressive set of the entire year. Charging the net full of confidence, basically OUTPLAYING Henin on her own favoured surface and Maria's worst. Maria takes the second set having great momentum but the match gets suspended due to the darnkess. Maria comes out firing the next day to make an early break. She leads 2-0 and has nothing less than 4
break points to go up 3-0. But squanders them all and ends up losing. Disappointing loss.
Birmingham. Final vs Na Li 7-5 6-1.
There is nothing much to say about this one. IIRC Maria led 5-3 in the first set but fell apart once Na went into utter destruction mode. The second set was a complete fail on Maria's part, looked like she stopped trying after Na raised her game a couple of levels.
Wimbledon. R4 vs Serena Williams 7-6(9) 6-4.
Maria gets broken in her second service game of the match but battles back and reclaims the break. They charge towards the TB where Maria has at least 2 set points but fails to take advantage yet again. A DF at 7-7 gives Rena the much needed opportunity to win the set and take definitive command of the match. Poor second set from Maria - comparable to the second set vs Li 2 weeks earlier.
Cincinnati. Final vs Kim Clijsters 2-6 7-6(4 6-2.
IMO most painful loss for me and most likely for Maria as well.
Clijsters plays subpar and Maria charges into a 6-2 5-3 lead playing decent tennis. Squanders 3 match points before the rain spoils the party and ruins Maria's momentum. Very close to finally winning that big match aginst the top player but this one throws Maria even deeper down the confidence pit.
US Open. R4 vs Caroline Wozniacki 63 64.
Windy conditions. Maria struggles on her first service game but manages to hold. Wozniacki does eventually break for a 4-2 lead. Maria then gets it together and breaks back immediately, takes a comfortable 40-15 lead in her next service game. But then the serve COMPLETELY
falls apart. As if you ruin a house of paper by just slightly blowing your breath. Maria hits 4 DFs in a row and literally gives Woz the set. Onto second set where Maria has some early opportunities to go up a break but wastes them, yet again. Wozniacki takes an inevitable lead by breaking Maria's serve and serves out the match easily. Despite being praised for her great attacking play by desperate Wozniacki fans, Maria was 32/36 for her winners/UE count, hits 9 DFs and is 1 out of 9 in her BP conversion. Enough said.
Tokyo. R1 vs Kimiko Date-Krumm.
Didn't see the whole match so there's only one thing I can say about it.
Defending champ Maria lead 3-2 40-0 in the third set but
chokes like a stripper on a dildo.
Although there were reports of Maria having a cold and not being able to train on a normal, frequent schedule.