What’s going on with Martina Hingis?

Martina Hingis lost to Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, in the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open. She has only reached one semifinal of eight tourneys this year – and that tournament she won, thankfully, but in getting there, she defeated Nicole Pratt, Samantha Stosur, Elena Dementieva, and Ana Ivanovic, hardly roster names in the women’s field.

It’s frustrating watching Marti lose so early in competitions this year, all to lower-ranked players. Save for a loss to Kim Clijsters in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, Hingis has lost to lower-ranked players every time. Out in the first round of Medibank and the Dubai Duty Free, to the same player: lower-ranked Jelena Jankovic. Out in the second round of the Qatar Open and the fourth round of the Pan Pacific to the same player: lower-ranked Daniela Hantuchova (who, in certain angles, by the way, is HOT). A loss to lower-ranked Dinara Safina (Mondial), and now, the Sony Ericsson, to Radwanska, who is ranked 49th. Forty-ninth!

This was Hingis’ worst loss since tumbling out to 112th-ranked Virginie Razzano at last year’s US Open. If it’s any consolation, Marti reached US$20M in prize money, joining Steffi Graf, Lindsay Davenport, and Martina Navratilova.

My officemate and fellow Hingis fan Raymond and I always enjoy picking Marti’s game apart, and I can expect a feisty discussion later. In a game where physical strength and speed are essential, mental strength is the great equalizer, and Marti has been lax in this field. She herself said she needs to “recharge” her head.

Meanwhile, I blame Marti’s slump on her mekmek of a fiance, Radek Stepanek. Maybe if she were engaged to a hotter tennis player, she’d have more drive. Joke. ;)

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