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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So now, it’s not only in majors that she gets stuck in the semi-finals, it happens even in a Tier I where she is the defending champion. This is worrying, Maria, you REALLY need to think seriously about that!!

Losing to Martina Hingis is already embarrassing, but I owe you that Hingis played an amazing tennis against her. The big problem is that outrageous scoreline, 6-1 in the second set, and also Masha’s weird attitude, like there was some invisible demon who’s telling her “Don’t fight, just let go” and it was not only that match. Even after losing so badly she didn’t seem to care a lot but maybe it’s just the outside appearance, I don’t know.

I think there is something definitely wrong in Maria’s preparation for matches; the way she tackled the match against Hingis indicates it very accurately.

First of all, Maria should know that you NEVER give a hint on the tactics you plan to use before the match but she told the whole world what she was going to do in a press conference. Anyway, it’s just a detail.

More significant is the dramatic number of UE’s she did in the worst moments: at a certain point in the second set Martina didn’t really have to do something very special, Maria was giving a lot. UE’s is the sign of lack of preparation by excellence. It’s not that much about technique; it’s about concentration and mental conditioning. The contrast was amazing: When Martina went for winners she would succeed 90% of the time; when it was Masha, she missed more than she succeeded.

Tactically, Maria was also totally wrong to systematically refuse rallies and try to close the points in 2/3 shots. Martina herself pointed out that Maria was not patient enough. Maria came on the court with a misconception that she would get trashed if she had to play rallies against Hingis, while it was probably the best choice in order to make Martina use a lot of energy on the court.

More generally, it seems to me that Maria doesn’t spend enough time studying her opponents’ game in detail by herself by watching tapes or even attending matches. She only relies on Yuri but, although Yuri tries to do his best and likely is gaining experience as a coach, it is obviously insufficient. Watching by yourself always brings another perspective to learn how such player win points and how she loses ones, what about their body language and so on, which is quite precious knowledge for the time you have that person at the other side of the net.

For example, against many top players, Maria plays their best side way too much (i.e. the backhand, mostly). Maria should use quite more often a point construction based on crosscourt forehand with a moderate power. Players like Kim or Martina hate to be worked out on their forehands… but Maria too. Nevertheless, if she plays them on their backhand it lets them gain more and more confidence in the match, while forcing them to play forehand is maybe the only way to put some pressure on them.

Ideally, Maria and Yuri should also think about hiring an experienced champions’ coach, it’s not like they couldn’t afford it.

Also, Maria seems to lack inspiration lately, she goes for too much thinking during matches and doesn’t allow enough her instinct to let her get “into the zone”.

In conclusion, there are currently too many weaknesses in Maria’s tennis, technically as well as mentally so she must correct them very quickly, otherwise she will get kicked out of the top 8. She’s going to be 19 soon, high time to settle into a real champion’s status. Now she reminds me a little bit of 2001/2002 Dementieva or 2003/2004 Hantuchova, though those two didn't achieve as much as did Maria.
 

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Jeez get over the whole "I am only eighteen," therefore I will have to study more about myself and my opponents thing. Martina whopped her ass, and there's no excuses to that. :rolleyes:
 

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i agree with the fact that maria has weaknesses in her game. she needs to improve if she wants to become a true champion.
 

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I agree in a few areas....probably not the best place to post this if you were after generally thoughtful responses though ;)
 

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I'm not so sure that she was misinformed tactically, but rather she was just playing to her strengths. Trying to end the points early, hitting backhands cross court to Martina's backhand. That's Maria's usual game.

Which is a result of her weaknesses such as using the net, or playing long rallies without trying to hit outright winners. So I agree with you about the technical deficiences. She could not have gone about the match any other way. She certainly wasn't going to out finesse Martina.

Which is why she's been trying to rush the net more often lately in early round matches, as stupid as she has looked there. While I dislike Maria, I do respect her willingness to get try and improve her overall game, even at the likely chance of her getting burned. Ideally, you might see her play more tactically when she has all the tools necessary to execute certain gameplans, which at present she doesn't have.
 

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yeh all players need room to improve, Maria will learn from the match and it was her first time playing hingis, no one expected Martina to play as well as she did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Prizeidiot said:
I'm not so sure that she was misinformed tactically, but rather she was just playing to her strengths. Trying to end the points early, hitting backhands cross court to Martina's backhand. That's Maria's usual game.

Which is a result of her weaknesses such as using the net, or playing long rallies without trying to hit outright winners. So I agree with you about the technical deficiences. She could not have gone about the match any other way. She certainly wasn't going to out finesse Martina.

Which is why she's been trying to rush the net more often lately in early round matches, as stupid as she has looked there. While I dislike Maria, I do respect her willingness to get try and improve her overall game, even at the likely chance of her getting burned. Ideally, you might see her play more tactically when she has all the tools necessary to execute certain gameplans, which at present she doesn't have.
It is indiscutable that Maria lacks a lot technical skills, but she won Wimbledon and the YEC with even less technique, so to me the main area that she has to recover first is her mental conditionning to go for combat.

My point was not to out-finesse Hingis but to force her to play shot after shot after shot. Since the beginning Hingis was winning points with ease and she never had any pressure on her shoulders which encouraged her to go for even more "artistry".

I don't think Maria played to her strength in absolute terms (but maybe on that day that was all she had). Martina also managed well to pressure her for a long time now, by all her statements about wanting to play Sharapova, Maria also needs to learn to cope with that :lol:. Martina is quite experienced in that field too.
 

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theres no need to panic, she is only 18, she has lots of tiem to improve ;):p
 

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Sharapower said:
More significant is the dramatic number of UE’s she did in the worst moments: at a certain point in the second set Martina didn’t really have to do something very special, Maria was giving a lot. UE’s is the sign of lack of preparation by excellence. It’s not that much about technique; it’s about concentration and mental conditioning. The contrast was amazing: When Martina went for winners she would succeed 90% of the time; when it was Masha, she missed more than she succeeded.
Martina hits far more than she misses because she is very good at setting up the points to give her opportunities to hit higher percentage winners.Maria is the opposite.It isn't purely mental.
Tactically, Maria was also totally wrong to systematically refuse rallies and try to close the points in 2/3 shots. Martina herself pointed out that Maria was not patient enough. Maria came on the court with a misconception that she would get trashed if she had to play rallies against Hingis, while it was probably the best choice in order to make Martina use a lot of energy on the court.
Insecurity.She knew if she allowed Martina too much time to work a point,Martina would find a way to get her out of position and hit a winner.
For example, against many top players, Maria plays their best side way too much (i.e. the backhand, mostly). Maria should use quite more often a point construction based on crosscourt forehand with a moderate power
Maria's crosscourt forehand isn't the most solid,or versatile shot out there,so she probably doesn't trust it enough to use it more.
Also, Maria seems to lack inspiration lately, she goes for too much thinking during matches and doesn’t allow enough her instinct to let her get “into the zone”.
You've just spent half a post ranting about how Maria doesn't think enough,and now suddenly you don't want her to think? :lol:
People panic too much around here.She lost to a tactical master.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
tennisrox said:
You've just spent half a post ranting about how Maria doesn't think enough,and now suddenly you don't want her to think? :lol:
People panic too much around here.She lost to a tactical master.
She doesn't think enough before matches so she enters matches unprepared. When you're on the court and your opponent kicks ass it's way too late for the strategic thinking.

Her losing to Martina is not worrying me that much, but 6-1 with a "Why do I care?" face worries me, and also almost losing to Groenefeld, losing to Safina, increasing a losing record to Justine and Kim. It's becoming too much so she gives the impression of drowning, and I'm pretty sure she is getting sick of it herself. Maybe she needs a cure of Tier III or IV to get some things sorted out in her young brain.
 

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Sharapower: "Disappointing Maria"

Originally Posted by Sharapower:

Disappointing Maria
Interestingly, as far as Masha's on court performance is concerned, I never feel any disappointment.

Maybe it's because I don't set high expectation. And more importantly, I'm ready to support Masha all the way no matter how low her ranking would fall.

And I still believe in Masha completely.
 
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Has it occured to anyone that maria was just having a bad day, tis tough losing to martina simply becuase 'she is only 4 tournys back after 3 years' which opens one to ridicule. (Either martina is that good or the tour is that bad)
I didn't see the match but from what people are saying sounds like maria gave up, so out of character for her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
VeraNuVirgosFan said:
Interestingly, as far as Masha's on court performance is concerned, I never feel any disappointment.

Maybe it's because I don't set high expectation. And more importantly, I'm ready to support Masha all the way no matter how low her ranking would fall.

And I still believe in Masha completely.
You make a point, here, maybe I'm expecting too much, but her season 2004 anyway was so promising that the current situation (which is not so catastrophic, of course) sounds quite unsatisfactory.

My disappointment resides more in the general trend than in a particular "underperformance". Going 8 months without a title sounds abnormal for a player of her age and caliber. But then also, she was injured for a long part of these 8 months so maybe I'm unfair.

About believing in her, I totally do, whatever happens, in like 3 years, she's likely to have no real rival on the tour, but it would make me happier if she started now to beat all the top players, not waiting for them retirement.
 

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Sharapower said:
About believing in her, I totally do, whatever happens, in like 3 years, she's likely to have no real rival on the tour, but it would make me happier if she started now to beat all the top players, not waiting for them retirement.
There will be younger players coming up.Its not that the retirement of the top players will leave a huge, unfillable vacuum at the top.
 

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tennisrox said:
There will be younger players coming up.Its not that the retirement of the top players will leave a huge, unfillable vacuum at the top.
In my opinion, apart from Vaidisova, other young and younger players haven't been very impressive this year.
 

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tennisrox said:
There will be younger players coming up.Its not that the retirement of the top players will leave a huge, unfillable vacuum at the top.
hate to mention this but a player yanked out of 3 years of retirement kicked major ass this week.
 
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