I wasn’t surprised with the ease of Angelique Kerber’s victory over Maria Sharapova at the 2018 Australian Open. I am a Masha fan. A big Masha fan, in fact. Among current players, she’s probably only behind Madison Keys and possibly Petra Kvitova for me. So I am not rooting against her at all. I know what she was suspended for but I feel she’s done her time. She is a great champion. I have no problem with second chances for anybody. But her game continues to display inconsistency and loads of unforced errors. Even in matches that she wins in straight sets she often has these walk-about periods where she inexplicably allows her opponent to get back into the match. I’m not taking anything away from the opponent, but very often Maria is giving away easy point after easy point because of errors. I hate to say this, but until she can find more consistency in her game she’s just another above-average player. I’m not saying she’s not a good player of course. But to be special, to be the kind of player who competes for major titles, she has to vastly improve. I’ve heard commentators predict that she would win a major in 2018. I certainly hope that is the case as a fan of hers. However, as it stands it seems more of a case of honoring her name over her game right now. I’m well aware that she won in Tianjin last year, but she didn’t face anybody to the level that she will probably need to defeat along the way in order to add to her major title haul. We’ll have to see where Sharapova goes from here. I will remain a dedicated fan, but I also have to call it like I see it. What I see is a good player who makes too many unforced errors and gives away too many points to players against whom that is a fatal flaw.
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