Serena Seeks First Title in a Year; Fish v. Gulbis in LA Final
by Sean Randall | July 31st, 2011, 11:40 am
  • 39 Comments

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.


Also Check Out:
Serena Stuffs Sharapova in Stanford Blowout; Gulbis Stuns Del Potro in LA
Serena, Sharapova Renew Rivalry Tonight at Stanford; Del Potro, Fish Highlight LA QFs
Poll: Better Chance Of Winning The French Open: Rafael Nadal Or Serena Williams?
Ernests Gulbis Has Never Lost An ATP Final In Singles Or Doubles (7-0) [Chart]
The 2014 Singapore WTA Finals Field Is Set, Serena Seeks 5th Title

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get Tennis-X news FREE in your inbox every day

39 Comments for Serena Seeks First Title in a Year; Fish v. Gulbis in LA Final

contador Says:

go dolgo!


jane Says:

Dolgo gets the lead.


jane Says:

While she is certainly unorthodox in her style of play, Bartoli’s effort on the court is definitely admirable. Oddly, I find myself pulling for her today. Mind you, when I don’t have a favorite either way going into a match, I usually find myself pulling for the underdog, so I guess it isn’t that odd.

The second set between Dolgo and Cilic is tighter, but I still have the feeling Dolgo will win.


contador Says:

c’mon dolgo – win your 1st atp title!

hope you are right, jane.


dari Says:

that point is why i love serena


jane Says:

Dolgo running away with it now. I am happy for him, but I hope he doesn’t bagel Cilic in front of his home crowd. : /

Bartoli is hanging onto her leas so far: surprising!


contador Says:

3-0 alex in the decider!

streaming dolgo, dari. i like both players but….

not over until it’s over is what it is with a dolgo match. alex going for his shots and missing atm.


jane Says:

Spoke too soon. Serena is going to break now.

Okay contador, I did not realize this would be Dolgo’s first title. That makes me want him to win more. And now Cilic is on the board so no bagel. Although I will be happy for him too, if he wins at home and they get their first local champ.


contador Says:

yeah. it’s tough to cheer against marin.

but i’m gonna cry if alex doesn’t get this. ;/


jane Says:

Oh oh, from 3-0, almost 4-0, Cilic holds and then breaks back, so back on serve 2-3. You were right: it ain’t over till it’s over contador,


Humble Rafa Says:

I will say this about Bartoli. She will fight and is not afraid of Serena. In general she gets a bad rap from the media.


jane Says:

Dolgo is THE undisputed king of the drop shot. :p


jane Says:

I feel sad for Bartoli as she was ahead right until the end of the first set, but Serena raised her game at the right time. You’re right HUmble Rafa: Bartoli shows no fear and fights hard and for that she deserves kudos.

I admire Cilic’s fight today too; after an abysmal season something seems to be clicking for him.


contador Says:

it’s a close decider. alex is playing well under the circumstances. but he couldn’t keep his lead.

c’mon alex!!


contador Says:

0-40. break chance dolgo!


jane Says:

Dolgo serving for it… 2 points away from his first title.


contador Says:

oOh! he got it. now he has serve for the title…his 1st, please


contador Says:

he made it!! alex!


jane Says:

Wow, kudos for Dolgo pogo tigger! Big win for him. Good final too. Cilic made a few too many errors – story of his career really


jane Says:

Hope Bartoli can avoid a bagel in the second set.


jane Says:

Can’t see any streaming for Fish vs. Gulbis in a bit, which is a total bummer. :(


dari Says:

congrats to alex D and serena!


contador Says:

very happy for dolgo, jane :D

congratulations Alexandre Dolgopolov!

all the best to marin, too.

and serena.


jane Says:

contador, I am happy you’re happy. ;D

I found a stream for Fish (har har) and Gulbis, but it’s not in English, which is fine. Might come down to who serves better today? But I think Fish is just all-round more consistent, which means he will, in all likelihood, win the title. Nice to see Gulbis foray into the net though! Fish will also last better in the heat; he is very fit, as we know. Gulbis might wilt.


Kimberly Says:

thank god serena won, not that i really like her but anything better than bartoli winning. yes i am a hater here.


grendel Says:

Owing to the peculiarities of Eurosport scheduling,I saw both Williams matches one after the other. Same pattern in Lisicki match as Sharapova – Lisicki came back fairly strongly in 2nd, lots of break points, not reflected in the score line. I think that tells us Serena is not quite there yet. Getting there fast, though. Genuine warmth from Lisicki at the shake hands ceremony. Note well, Sharapova. If you’re going to smile, do it properly.Otherwise, best leave it. “Watt had seen people smile and thought he knew how it was done. And indeed his smile, when he smiled, was more like a smile than a yawn, say, or a leer”. (Upon receipt of Watt’s attempted smile, the shocked railway porter had crashed to the ground, spilling all the milk.)

Bartoli played with great intensity and considerable daring. Actually, you can’t help thinking the success of the latter was a function of the former. Absolute focus, and those marginal shots land on the right side of the line. She surely should have taken the first set. Was it a failure of nerve, or the resurgence of an obstinate old hand injury? Or perhaps a bit of both.

Apparently, Serena is now red hot favourite for the US Open. If she carries on improving over the next 3 or 4 weeks, hard to see anyone challenging her. She’s looked so composed this week – for instance, she was calmly placing her overhead smashes rather than launching into them with her accustomed ferocity. Defence, attack – whatever is appropriate. Whereas Sharapova, Lisicki and Bartoli relied entirely on aggression. Not good enough against this quality. But what about Kvitova? She, too, is all aggression, although she does have at her command a nice change of pace – something not available, apparently,to the other three. I greatly look forward to Kvitova/ Williams on a big occasion.


jane Says:

Don’t forget about Kim grendel; if she is well, perhaps she can challenge Serena. Kim has generally had a movement advantage over Serena (and most) but now that she’ll be coming back post-ankle injury, it’s difficult to say if she’ll still have that. Like you, I look forward to seeing Kvitova versus Serena. They’ve played only twice, both at slams, both with Serena winning. But Petra forced a tiebreak versus Serena last year at Wimbledon and she’s obviously improved or “clicked” since then, which suggests their matches will be closer. But how does Kvitova do on hard courts? She made the QFs of the AO, losing to Zvonareva. And then she lost first round at Dubai, IW, and Miami! So it’s tough to predict how she will do going forward on the hard courts.


jane Says:

Mardy mad at the ref, but I didn’t quite catch why? Too slow to challenge? Definitely Fish has held more easily than Gulbis thus far.


Kimberly Says:

I have an odd feeling Serena is going to go on a tear and win a lot of tournaments. And no, I dont think Kvitova can stop her. Maybe Kim would be the only real shot.


grendel Says:

Yes, I forgot about Kim Clijsters – but then you get the feeling Kim Clijsters has forgotten about Kim Clijsters. Not sure the old heart is still in it. But she’s quality, so you never know. Kvitova too is quality, still on a learning curve. My suspicion is she will succeed on every surface – in time.


jane Says:

I think that you’re probably right about Serena, Kimberly.

Gulbis has not been serving that well today. Only 52% firsts. But this last game is better. So far he can’t make a dent in Mardy’s service games though. Overall, Mardy has been serving and returning more effectively.


jane Says:

Yes! Gulbis has forced a third set. So nice to see him hanging in and competing. hurray.


jane Says:

contador, you are missing Gulbis playing sooo well, he is so close to his second ever ATP title. Come on Ernests, you can do it!!


bstevens Says:

Gulbis nearly choked it all away but he manages to hang on. Congrats to him on his 2nd ATP title.


jane Says:

Gulbis wins it!!! Yahooo. :)))

But wow, Mardy nearly came back and swiped it. Gulbis had 5-1 Mardy held, broke back and held again to make it 5-4. And then he has 30-40 on Gulbis’ serve. It was that close to going from 5-1 to 5 all! Eeeek. Somehow, Gulbis plays a risky drop shot, which Mardy gets to and volleys, but just wide. And Gulbis shakes his fist as he had deuce, but he was a bit lucky because Mardy was there and the volley could have gone in. But it didn’t. Gulbis’ risk payed off, he finished with aplomb and now has won his second title, out of seemingly nowhere! Good for him I say.


contador Says:

jane, i had to miss the match but have it on dvr.

Gulbis! there is hope :)

not ready to get excited about him like i was last year. but congrats for his 2nd title!


Kimberly Says:

i was torn before the match but found myself pulling for Gulbis (totally anti-american). Listen FIsh and Delpo in one week are good wins for Ernie.

Maybe this will motivate him to play some tennis?


Kimberly Says:

but thought it ws a great match with great quality from both.


M Says:

Kim is a quality player; she seems injury-prone right now.

Go Serena go!!

Top story: Rafael Nadal Is Training Hard For 2015 [Video]
Most Recent story: Tommy Haas Will Not Play The Australian Open
  • Recent Comments
Rankings
ATP - Dec 15 WTA - Dec 15
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Kei Nishikori5 Ana Ivanovic
6 Andy Murray6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Tomas Berdych7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Milos Raonic8 Caroline Wozniacki
9 Marin Cilic9 Angelique Kerber
10 David Ferrer10 Dominika Cibulkova
More: Tennis T-Shirts | Tennis Shop | Live Tennis Scores | Headlines

Copyright © 2003-2014 Tennis-X.com. All rights reserved.
This website is an independently operated source of news and information and is not affiliated with any professional organizations.