It is interesting the scoreline of the last two sets of the Sharapova and Kuznetsova was the same as the Serena and Mauresmo, but it was deceiving. Even the last two sets of the all-Russian quarter were very competitively played I thought, Kuznetsova was still playing very well but Sharapova was coming up with great offensive shots on defense to swing the balance in her favor. On the other hand Serena was never threatened by Mauresmo at any point. I wish Mauresmo had played better, so we would have a better idea how Serena is playing, I am sure Serena would have won regardless how well Mauresmo played in hindsight, but it is hard to access how she is playing based on that match.
I also wish I had seen the Serena-Petrova match, was it a 3-setter due to Petrova playing so well or Serena's recent tendancy to some erratic play returning?
In any case I dont think she will come back to win if she gets off to a slow start against a player of Serena's caliber. In the year-end Championships, she lost the first set, but I wouldnt say it was "a slow start", it is not as though she was sluggish like she has been in the 1st sets I have seen her here; overhitting, lack of intensity, moving sluggishly, then getting it together in the next two.