Wimbledon 2010 was a prime example of why Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin returned to tennis. Big seeds falling by the wayside, up-and-comers with little chance of winning a title going deep, and the Williams sisters approaching old-maid 30-year-old status.
When the Belgians sat on the sidelines not enjoying their too-early retirement decisions, they saw the Williams sisters missing tournaments with injury or being upset by neer-do-well ‘champions’ such as Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova, who rose to the No. 1 or 2 ranks. Who wouldn’t come out of retirement with near-$1 million Slam titles up for grabs?
Venus Williams, officially past her competitive prime, fell out early at Wimbledon. The Belgians likewise failed to seize the moment after an unfortunate draw that saw them meet early, then the victorious Kim Clijsters fell to a lesser seed.
After the smoke cleared, world No. 1 Serena Williams showed that perhaps her only equal on tour is injury. Free from the injury bugaboo during the fortnight, on Saturday she breezed 6-3, 6-2 over No. 21 seed Vera Zvonareva to a fourth Wimbledon title and 13th career Grand Slam crown.
The Russian Zvonareva hung with the world No. 1 until 3-3 in the first set, when Williams thereafter simply hit her off the court.
The WTA Tour made it a note that Serena was “out-acing even the best men’s players in the world (going into the semifinals she had over 1.6 aces per service game while none of the men’s semifinalists even averaged 1).” Interesting line of logic, but along those lines, can you imagine, say, Tomas Berdych’s or Rafael Nadal’s ace averages if they were serving against women?
Williams’ 13th Grand Slam singles title moved her into sixth place on the career list in women’s tennis, leapfrogging Billie Jean King.
“This one’s special,” Williams said during an on-court interview. “Hey, Billie. I got you.”
If Serena truly “got” King, she would send her half of her winnings from the event, which wouldn’t begin to cover the possibilities open to Williams and her contemporaries via King.
Zvonareva will return to the Top 10 after an injury-ridden campaign last year that removed her from the WTA elite.
“Maybe I was not able to show my best today,” she said. “Serena just didn’t allow me to show my best. She was playing really well.”
Serena rarely let’s any player show their best, at least at the Grand Slams, as her performances at regular tour events remain less than stunning. At the big events, with sister Venus on the wane, the only opponent Serena needs to fear is injury.
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