Just about the only bold names casual American tennis fans can be expected to recognize who performed up to expectations at this year's Miami Masters were Andy Roddick and Venus Williams. Roddick made it as far as he could until he got dropped by Roger Federer; meanwhile, Venus put up a good show until she got defeated by her sister. Looking at their recent careers, really that is the best we can expect from them.
As for the other superstars on Key Biscayne, what in hell happened? Rafael Nadal went out in the quarter-finals to Juan Martin del Potro, and Federer lost a sloppily played semifinals, setting up the finals between "that Scottish kid who's been pretty good lately" and "I'm not sure, I think he's Russian"... er, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. OK, so they're ranked number three and number four in the world, still not the headliners the Miami audience expects. Murray took home the prize.
Then, oh geez, the ladies' side. Serena Williams didn't even try against 19-year-old Victoria Azarenka. Williams complained of an injury and said she thought about pulling out, but it was just sad to watch. Azarenka took Williams in straight sets, and any minute now, the Belarusian blonde is sure to ink some sort of endorsement deal featuring a talking dog.
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SHOW ME HOW
It's tennis. Even the best are going to have an odd bad game, but what does it say when three of the best have exceptionally poor showings? Will this year's Sony Ericsson go down as some sort of turning point in the power structure of professional tennis?