Serena Seeks First Title in a Year; Fish v. Gulbis in LA Final
Serena Williams is on the brink of her first title since winning Wimbledon last year. Today in the Stanford final, Serena will meet Marion Bartoli in a rematch of their Wimbledon meeting won by the Frenchwoman.
“It’s a whole new match,” Williams about facing Bartoli. “I probably would have preferred to win at Wimbledon, but I haven’t won a regular WTA tournament in forever, so I’m going to try my best. But my progress here, with a win or a loss tomorrow, I’m excited about the potential I have going forward.”
Since an uneven 3-set win over Maria Kirilenko on Thursday, Serena has been in Grand Slam form. In the quarters she thumped her rival Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 and yesterday in semifinals she crushed Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 6-2.
“There are still shots I’m not going for and not making that I know I can make once I get more confident and more match play. I’ll be able to make those,” Williams said. “It’s encouraging to me that I can do more, I can do better.”
If Serena wins the title it should cut her ranking in about half from No. 164 to the low 80s.
The former champion Bartoli earned a walkover in her semi from Dominika Cibulkova who withdrew with an ab strain. That came a day after getting a second set retirement from Ayumi Morita. So Bartoli has played just three sets en route to her second Stanford final.
Head-to-head Serena leads 2-1 and with the momentum she’s accrued and revenge on her mind I think she beats the quirky Bartoli.
Down the coast in the LA final, Mardy Fish continues his strong summer swing against the surprising Ernests Gulbis in a first-time meeting. Yesterday, Fish toughed out a worthy effort from Ryan Harrison turning the teen away in a third set breaker.
Gulbis, who is seeking his second career ATP title, followed up nicely on his big Juan Martin Del Potro upset by easing past Alex Bogomolov. But I think Ernie’s run ends today. Fish’s solid serve, strong return game and steady play should blunt Ernie’s explosiveness.
And just in from Gstaad, Marcel Granollers upset his countryman Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to claim the clay title in Switzerland. The win was the 25-year-old Granollers’ second career title.
Later this afternoon Marin Cilic will clash with Alexandr Dolgopolov for the Umag title and in College Park, Maryland final, Shahar Peer tangles with Nadia Petrova.
ESPN2 will have live coverage of the Serena final at 3pm ET followed by the LA title bout at 5pm ET.
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