Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Serena Way

Hands on 21. Eyes on 22.

It takes a remarkable performance to deny Serena Williams when she knows the shiny hardware that goes with winning a grand slam title is but a short walk away, ready to be engraved with her name once again. Going into today's Wimbledon final, only three woman had ever managed to do it in twenty-four major finals over a span of sixteen years (and one of them grew up with her). In the 129th edition of this event at the All-England Club, hard-hitting 21-year old Spaniard Garbine Muguruza took her turn at trying to thwart the American's unrelenting attack on tennis history. While Muguruza started well, won over a whole new batch of fans, and did nothing to make herself or anyone else question her bright future, the drive of Williams -- adding another footnote to her "Greatest of All-Time" argument -- simply proved to be too much to overcome. As usual.

It's just the Serena way.

Unfortunately for Muguruza, Williams had been poked, prodded and rounded into shape by a tough draw over the second week of the fortnight that only served to sharper her game, nerves, emotions and focus. She'd been primed by a heart-stopping 3rd Round survival against Heather Watson, this slam's seemingly prerequisite near-loss en route to a title (Serena was down two breaks in the 3rd set and the Brit served for the match, coming within two points of the win), an emotionally difficult win over her sister Venus a round later, a hard-hitting QF victory over a fearless Vika Azarenka a day after that, and then a dominating destruction of Maria Sharapova (still being made to never forget the impertinence of her win over Serena in the SW19 final in '04) in the semifinals. Thus, Williams came into her 25th career slam singles final a seeming "lock" to lift slam title #21, with Muguruza having just the "puncher's chance" that her power and intended aggression provided. It was quite a mountain for the Venezuelan-born Spaniard to be forced to climb in her very first major final.

Still, the #20-seed had spent the last two days saying all the things you'd like to hear from a young player arriving on the "big stage" and looking to get comfortable there for what she hopes will be a a long stay, especially for someone such as Muguruza, who has the sort of big game that can win a major, a personality that could help lift all WTA boats and, maybe most importantly, a slam win over Williams (who the Spaniard admitted at the time was her "idol") under her belt (Serena's worst-ever career slam loss, at last year's Roland Garros), as well as a competitive rematch with the world #1 (in Melbourne) in a major earlier this year. The Spaniard, the first woman from her nation to reach the Wimbledon final since 1996, spoke of playing without fear and was legitimately confident that she could win by using her power game to aggressively jump on Williams early and keep the pressure up all day long by pounding shots deep in the court keeping the American on her heels. Just as she had in Paris a year ago, and pretty much how Sharapova had managed to defeat her on the same Centre Court lawn in the final eleven years ago.

Things seemed to be lined up for a potential "dreams DO come true" upset, too. The only Spanish woman to ever win the Wimbledon title -- Conchita Martinez in 1994 -- had done so while playing in the championship match against an American (37-year old Martina Navratilova, who'd set the mark by winning Wimbledon at 33) looking to become the oldest female singles slam champ in the Open era. So the thought was that MAYBE the Tennis Gods would be kind, as Williams was looking to do the same as Martina had been, as well as complete her second "Serena Slam" (four straight major wins) and move within a U.S. Open title later this summer of a Grand Slam, the first in the sport since Steffi Graf's "Golden Slam" in 1988. Not only that, but if she was looking for a little more inspiration, Muguruza needed only to peek up at the umpire's chair to find it, as Alison Hughes (then Lang) was in charge of the final in '04 in which Sharapova shocked Williams.

Things started off well for Muguruza, as Williams' epic serve sputtered right out of the gate with a double-fault on the very first point of the match. She had three DF in all in game #1, and on her fourth break point the Spaniard ripped a deep return to Serena's backhand and she hit it long as the newcomer took a 1-0 lead, then backed it up with a nerve-less hold of serve. Williams' game continued to be sprinkled with errors as she fell behind love/30 on serve in game #3 when the American missed on a passing shot. She held for 2-1, but was visibly irritated by her sloppy start, which only gradually got better as the 1st serve progressed.

Williams went up 40/15 on Muguruza's serve in game #6, but Garbi saved both by employing an aggressive forehand and a few big serves to hold for 4-2. With the opening set possibly weighing in the balance, though, Serena held at love a game later, punctuating the end of the game with a "come on!" Serena, remembering what happened to her against the then 20-year old in Paris last year, wasn't about to let her maintain her early momentum. She knew the consequences. Before the match, she'd said of that RG defeat, "It was an eye-opening loss for me. Some losses you're angry about, and some losses you learn from. That loss I think I learned the most from in a long time." She'd entered this day having gone 29-1 since then in the slams, including an active 27-match winning streak in majors.

In the next game, Serena ratcheted her power shots up a notch, taking a 40/15 lead on Muguruza's serve. The Spaniard saved the first BP with an ace, but Williams got the break when her framed forehand return stayed inside the baseline, landing deep in the court and forcing Muguruza to take a step back. Serena seized control of the rally with a crosscourt forehand that produced a Garbi error that ended the game and put things back on serve at 4-4. From there, the Williams will to win was an unstoppable force.

Moving Muguruza from one side of the court to the other, Williams put away an overhead to reach game point at 40/15, then held with a wide serve and put-away short backhand winner to take the lead for the first time at 5-4. A Muguruza double-fault handed Serena a set point a game later, and Williams' forehand winner ended a rally to get the break and claim the 1st set at 6-4 despite seeing her biggest weapon fail to carry its normal share of the load. Williams served at just a 49% clip on her 1st serve and hit four DF.

After beginning the match with a double-fault in the 1st, Williams opened the 2nd with an ace. She held for 1-0, as the game ended with Muguruza needlessly challenging her shot that had landed beyond the baseline while she was down 40/15. It sort of revealed that desperation was starting to creep into her game. After Muguruza held, Williams opened her second service game with an ace, as well. After reaching deuce, another ace was followed by a service winner up the "T" that completed the hold. Muguruza's errors turned her next service game into a quick break, then Williams began yet another game with an ace, then followed up with a service winner, an ace, and a big up-the-middle serve that forced another error as she held for 4-1.

Between sets, Muguruza was seen to be visibly getting emotional in the changeover area, but she mostly held things in check. Then she came out and immediately saw Serena break her serve at love as her string of consecutive points reached twelve. Williams wasn't going anything spectacular, just consistently hitting hard groundstrokes that prevented Muguruza from imposing any aggressive moves on any point. Then, serving for the title, Williams lost her focus and hit a bad patch. As coach Patrick Mouratoglou noted afterward, he knew she'd eventually break herself out of the slide, but it was still an opportunity for Muguruza to get back into the match.

A DF put Williams down love/30 and with the nothing-to-lose Spaniard suddenly hitting out on every shot she broke at love. After Muguruza won her sixth straight point to go up 30/love on serve, Williams got to within two points of the win at deuce before the Spaniard held for 5-3. Muguruza went up 30/love on the Williams serve again with a successful passing shot, and a backhand return winner gave her triple BP in game #9. Williams fired two aces, getting to within two points of the win again at deuce, then reached MP with another ace. But a Muguruza forehand winner gave her a fourth BP shot. She fired a long forehand return on BP #4, but used her defense to keep a rally alive until Williams netted a forehand to get her fifth opportunity of the game. A forehand winner got the break for 5-4, as things were suddenly interesting again with the set back on serve.

But Serena was NOT going to lose this thing.

In the next game, things began with a Muguruza DF, and then just got worse for the Spaniard. Rather than being back in the match, she would soon be out of it. She couldn't get to a Williams return that bounced off the net cord and landed in the short court, then committed an error to fall down triple MP at love/40. A Muguruza shot that landed wide ended things for a 6-4/6-4 Williams win.

Ummm, or did it? Right when the victory celebration usually takes place, everything seemed to stop. Hughes didn't immediately say "game. set. match," and Williams seemed momentarily confused, wondering if Muguruza had maybe challenged the call. She hadn't. And when the final score was finally announced, Serena seemed lost and bewildered. Should she celebrate? Was it really over? Gosh, could it actually be?

It was, and she was soon shaking Muguruza's hand at the net, her sixth Wimbledon crown (one more than Venus, one less than Graf) in hand, as well as a 21st career major (one behind Graf) and the third leg of a possible 2015 Grand Slam (so Steffi's going to need to leave open a spot on her calendar for the final weekend of the U.S. Open -- she might want to attend the final). This is also Serena's second "Serena Slam," as she's won four straight majors, just two off the Open era consecutive record held by Margaret Court (1969-71) and Navratilova (1983-84)... so there's another record we might be talking about come next spring. And Court's all-time slam mark of twenty-four titles is now surely within reach, as well. Oh, so there's another historical chase to look forward to in '16.

But that's all to come later. Belated as it may have been, Williams DID finally take a moment to fitfully celebrate about a minute after the match had actually come to an end.

While her opponent today may have only been on earth for twenty-one years (and was just 5 when Serena won her first slam title) Williams now seems to be "forever 21," and not just because of the current number next to her name on all the slam title lists, either. Serena has rarely been as loose and free as she was after this final. You'd hardly have guessed that she'd just become the oldest women's singles slam champ in the Open era.

Actually, proving that she's still got a great deal of history-making feats in her young 33-year old body, Williams appeared even more junior than 21 as she walked off the court balancing the Venus Rosewater Dish on her head like a debutante-in-training.

Naturally, her balance didn't waver a bit. Hey, it's just the Serena way.

=DAY 12 NOTES= the women's doubles final, #1-seeded Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza staged a remarkable comeback against #2 Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina to deliver world #1 Mirza her very first women's doubles slam crown (so she's no longer the only WD #1 without one) and Hingis her tenth. It's Hingis' first Wimbledon title since she won the doubles with Jana Novotna in 1998. She won her first WD at SW19 at age 15 in 1996.

Makarova/Vesnina led 5-2 in the 3rd set, holding in game #7 afer saving three BP. Two games later, Hingis/Mirza finally got the break to get back on serve as the Russians served for the title but the Dream Team converted their fourth BP of game #9. After Mirza held in a tight game that went to deuce, play was suspended at 5-5 while the Centre Court roof was closed due to darkness. Considering Vesnina's history of squandering leads in matches, and this duo's failure to hold a 5-1 lead in a previous slam final likely playing on their minds, it probably wasn't good that it was Vesnina who was called upon to serve in the first game out of the delay. She ended up being broken, as Hingis won the game with a crosscourt forehand return winner to give herself a chance to serve out the match. She did so at love, as she and Mirza won 5-7/7-6(4)/7-5.

This is the second slam win this season for Hingis, who also won the Australian Open Mixed with Leander Paes. She has a chance to sweep both doubles crowns at this Wimbledon in the Mixed final with Paes on Sunday. the junior girls singles final, 15-year old Hordette Sofya Zhuk won the all-Russian clash with #12 Anna Blinkova 7-5/6-4 to become just the second from her country to claim the Wimbledon junior title (2002 Vera Dushevina).

Three of the past seven junior slam champs have been Russian.

Meanwhile, the hopes for the first-ever junior girls doubles Grand Slam were dashed when #1-seeded Czechs Miriam Kolodziejova & Marketa Vondrousova lost 7-6(2)/6-4 in the semifinals to #3-seeded Hungarians Dalma Galfi & Anna Bondar. They'll now face unseeded Vera Lapko (BLR) and Tereza Mihalikova (SVK) in the final.

In the boys doubles semis, American Reilly Opelka was once again involved in taking out #1-seeded Harry Taylor Fritz. The #4-seeded duo of Opelka and Japan's Akira Santillan defeated #1 Fritz & Michael Mmoh today, and will face #8 Ly Nam Hoang (VIE) & Sumit Nagal (IND) in the final. Opelka faces #12 Mikael Ymer (SWE) in the singles final, as well.

Since Opelka will have to play two matches on Sunday, one thinks he'll probably be trying to use that monster serve to keep things as short as possible.

LIKE FOR DAY 12: When the pressure is off.

LIKE FOR DAY 12: Garbi.

LIKE FOR DAY 12: Speaking of J.K. Rowling...

LIKE FOR DAY 12: The wall of honor gets a return visitor.

LIKE FOR DAY 12: The journey...

LIKE FOR DAY 12: Petra sending congrats (and wondering, "Hmmm, what if that'd been me on the other side of the net?").

LIKE FOR DAY 12: Madison. Ditto.

LIKE FOR DAY 12: Venus. Ho-humm, another Wimbledon title... ;)

LIKE FOR DAY 12: Caro. Not the 25th birthday gift she was hoping for, but...

LIKE FOR DAY 12: From the White House. Past, present and future occupants.

LIKE FOR DAY 12: Billie Jean, the leading voice in women's tennis since, well, seemingly forever... and still a promoter at heart, at well. Bless her.

LIKE FOR DAY 12: An engraver's work is never done... even if it IS sometimes a bit repetitive.

JUST A FACE IN THE CROWD ON DAY 12: Andy Murray watching his brother Jamie lose in the men's doubles final.

LIKE FOR DAY 12: Dueling Serena Slams vs. Dueling Venus Rosewater Dish lifts

...and, finally...

2014 Final: Halep d. Vinci
2014 Doubles Final: E.Bogdan/Cadantu d. Buyukakcay/Knapp
15 Top Seeds: Errani/Vinci

#1 Errani d. #3 Niculescu
#7 A.Schmiedlova d. Krunic
#7 A.Schmiedlova d. #1 Errani

Another tomorrow, after the Bastad draw is released. Serena is supposed to play, but we'll see.

#1 Serena Williams/USA def. #20 Garbine Muguruza/ESP 6-4/6-4

#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB vs. #2 Roger Federer/SUI

#1 Hingis/Mirza (SUI/IND) def. #2 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) 5-7/7-6(4)/7-5

#4 Rojer/Tecau (NED/ROU) def. #13 J.Murray/Peers (GBR/AUS) 7-6(5)/6-4/6-4

#7 Hingis/Paes (SUI/IND) vs. #5 Babos/Peya (HUN/AUT)

Sofya Zhuk/RUS def. #12 Anna Blinkova/RUS 7-5/6-4

Reilly Opelka/USA vs. #12/WC Mikael Ymer/SWE

#3 Galfi/Stollar (HUN/HUN) vs. Lapko/Mihalikova (BLR/SVK)

#4 Opelka/Santillan (USA/JPN) vs. #8 Ly/Nagal (VIE/IND)

#1 Kamiji/Whiley (JPN/GBR) vs. #2 Griffioen/Van Koot (NED/NED)

Fernandez/Peifer (ARG/FRA) vs. #2 Jeremiasz/Reid (FRA/GBR)

2007 Venus Williams/USA def Marion Bartoli/FRA
2008 Venus Williams/USA def. Serena Williams/USA
2009 Serena Williams/USA def. Venus Williams/USA
2010 Serena Williams/USA def. Vera Zvonareva/RUS
2011 Petra Kvitova/CZE def. Maria Sharapova/RUS
2012 Serena Williams/USA def. Aga Radwanska/POL
2013 Marion Bartoli/FRA def. Sabine Lisicki/GER
2014 Petra Kvitova/CZE def. Genie Bouchard/CAN
2015 Serena Williams/USA def. Garbine Muguruza/ESP

**2015 WTA TITLES**
3 - Simona Halep, ROU
3 - Angelique Kerber, GER
2 - Maria Sharapova, RUS
2 - Petra Kvitova, CZE
2 - Timea Bacsinszky, SUI

24...Margaret Court
22...Steffi Graf
19...Helen Wills-Moody
18...Martina Navratilova
18...Chris Evert
12...Billie Jean King
12...Suzanne Lenglen
[Open Era]
22...Steffi Graf
18...Martina Navratilova
18...Chris Evert
[total slam titles - active - singles/doubles/mixed]
36...SERENA WILLIAMS (21-13-2)
22...Venus Williams (7-13-2)
17...MARTINA HINGIS (5-10-2)
11...Lisa Raymond (0-6-5)
10...Cara Black (0-5-5)
NOTE: Hingis to play in Mixed final

8...Serena Williams (2 at 30, 2 at 31, 1 at 32, 3 at 33)
3...Martina Navratilova (2 at 30, 1 at 33)
3...Margaret Court (2 at 30, 1 at 31)
2...Billie Jean King (30 & 31)
2...Chris Evert (30 & 31)
1...Li Na (31)
1...Virginia Wade (31)
1...Ann Haydon Jones (30)

1970 Margaret Court (completed Grand Slam)
1984 Martina Navratilova (lost in AO semifinals in Dec.)
1988 Steffi Graf (completed "Golden Slam" w/ U.S. Open + Olympic Gold)
2015 Serena Williams (???)

1969-71 Margaret Court
1983-84 Martina Navratilova
1988-89 Steffi Graf
1993-94 Steffi Graf
2002-03 Serena Williams
2014-15 Serena Williams (active streak)
1972 Billie Jean King
1981-82 Martina Navratilova
1982-83 Chris Evert
1989-90 Steffi Graf
1991-92 Monica Seles
1995 Steffi Graf
1996 Steffi Graf
1997-98 Martina Hingis

1965 Wimbledon - Olga Morozova
1971 Roland Garros - Elena Granatourova
1971 Wimbledon - Marina Kroshina
1975 Wimbledon - Natasha Chmyreva
1975 US Open - Natasha Chmyreva
1976 Wimbledon - Natasha Chmyreva
1986 Wimbledon - Natalia Zvereva
1987 Roland Garros - Natalia Zvereva
1987 Wimbledon - Natalia Zvereva
1987 US Open - Natalia Zvereva
1998 Roland Garros - Nadia Petrova
1999 Wimbledon - Lina Krasnoroutskaya
2002 Wimbledon - Vera Dushevina
2002 US Open - Maria Kirilenko
2006 Australian Open - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
2006 US Open - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
2007 Australian Open - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
2009 Australian Open - Ksenia Pervak
2010 US Open - Daria Gavrilova
2014 Australian Open - Elizaveta Kulichkova
2014 Roland Garros - Darya Kasatkina
2015 Wimbledo - Sofya Zhuk

AO: Karolina Pliskova, CZE
RG: Elina Svitolina, UKR
WI: Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
US: Daria Gavrilova, RUS
AO: An-Sophie Mestach, BEL
RG: Ons Jabeur, TUN
WI: Ashleigh Barty, AUS
AO: Grace Min, USA
AO: Taylor Townsend, USA
RG: Annika Beck, GER
WI: Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
US: Samantha Crawford, USA
AO: Ana Konjuh, CRO
RG: Belinda Bencic, SUI
WI: Belinda Bencic, SUI
US: Ana Konjuh, CRO
AO: Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
RG: Darya Kasatkina, RUS
WI: Jelena Ostapenko, LAT
US: Maria Bouzkova, CZE
AO: Tereza Mihalikova, SVK
RG: Paula Badosa, ESP
WI: Sofya Zhuk, RUS

2002 Vera Dushevina/RUS def. Maria Sharapova/RUS
2003 Kirsten Flipkens/BEL def. Anna Chakvetadze/RUS
2004 Kateryna Bondarenko/UKR def. Ana Ivanovic/SRB
2005 Agnieszka Radwanska/POL def. Tamira Paszek/AUT
2006 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN def. Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK
2007 Urszula Radwanska/POL def. Madison Brengle/USA
2008 Laura Robson/GBR def. Noppawan Lertcheewakarn/THA
2009 Noppawan Lertcheewakarn/THA def. Kristina Mladenovic/FRA
2010 Kristyna Pliskova/CZE def. Sachie Ishizu/JPN
2011 Ashleigh Barty/AUS def. Irina Khromacheva/RUS
2012 Eugenie Bouchard/CAN def. Elina Svitolina/UKR
2013 Belinda Bencic/SUI def. Taylor Townsend/USA
2014 Jelena Ostapenko/LAT def. Kristina Schmiedlova/SVK
2015 Sofya Zhuk/RUS def. Anna Blinkova/RUS

2007 Urszula Radwanska, POL
2008 Laura Robson, GBR
2009 Timea Babos, HUN & Miyabi Inoue, JPN
2010 Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
2011 Ashleigh Barty, AUS
2012 Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
2013 Louisa Chirico, USA
2014 Jelena Ostapenko, LAT
2015 Sofya Zhuk, RUS

2008 Serena Williams & Venus Williams, USA/USA
2009 Serena Williams & Venus Williams, USA/USA
2010 Vania King & Yaroslava Shvedova, USA/KAZ
2011 Kveta Peschke & Katarina Srebotnik, CZE/SLO
2012 Serena Williams & Venus Williams, USA/USA
2013 Hsieh Su-Wei & Peng Shuai, TPE/CHN
2014 Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
2015 Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza, SUI/IND

2006 Yan Zi & Zheng Jie, CHN
2007 Cara Black, ZIM
2008 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2009 Serena & Venus Williams, USA
2010 Vania King & Yaroslava Shvedova, USA/KAZ
2011 Kveta Peschke, CZE
2012 Lisa Raymond, USA
2013 Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2014 Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
2015 Sania Mirza, IND

4 - HINGIS & MIRZA (2 Hard, 1 Green Clay, 1 Grass)
3 - Babos & Mladenovic (1 Hard, 2 Red Clay)
3 - Mattek-Sands & Safarova (1 Hard, 1 Red Clay)
2 - Kops-Jones & Spears (1 Hard, 1 Grass)

Cara Black, ZIM
Martina Hingis, SUI
Andrea Hlavackova, CZE
Lucie Hradecka, CZE
Liezel Huber, USA
Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
Sania Mirza, IND
Lisa Raymond, USA
Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
Samantha Stosur, AUS
Serena Williams, USA
Venus Williams, USA
Vera Zvonareva, RUS

Martina Hingis, SUI [5-10-2]
Samantha Stosur, AUS [1-2-3]
Serena Williams, USA [21-13-2]
Venus Williams, USA [7-13-2]
NOTE: Hingis to play Mixed final

2006 Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan, USA/USA
2007 Arnaud Clement & Michael Llodra, FRA/FRA
2008 Daniel Nestor & Nenad Zimonjic, CAN/SRB
2009 Daniel Nestor & Nenad Zimonjic, CAN/SRB
2010 Jurgen Melzer & Philipp Petzschner, AUT/GER
2011 Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan, USA/USA
2012 Jonathan Marray & Frederik Nielsen, GBR/DEN
2013 Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan, USA/USA
2014 Vacek Pospisil & Jack Sock, CAN/USA
2015 Jean-Julien Rojer & Horia Tecau, NED/ROU

TOP QUALIFIER: Petra Cetkovska, CZE
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #2 Petra Kvitova/CZE
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #20 Garbine Muguruza/ESP & #4 Maria Sharapova/RUS
TOP LATE-ROUND (SF-F): #1 Serena Williams/US
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q1: #21 Michelle Larcher de Brito/POR d. Ysaline Bonaventure/BEL 1-6/6-3/12-10 (saved 4 MP)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 1st Rd. - #6 Lucie Safarova/CZE d. Alison Riske/USA 3-6/7-5/6-3 (Riske up set and 4-2, served 5-4, 2-0 in 3rd)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 3rd Rd. - #1 Serena Williams/USA d. Heather Watson/GBR 6-2/4-6/7-5 (Watson up dbl-bk 3-0 in 3rd, served at 5-4, 2 pts from win)
TOP LATE-RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): Girls QF - #12 Anna Blinkova/RUS d. (WC) Tornado Black/USA 1-6/6-3/12-10 (3:07)
FIRST WINNER: #23 Victoria Azarenka/BLR (def. Kontaveit/EST)
FIRST SEED OUT: #24 Flavia Pennetta/ITA (lost 1st Rd. to Diyas/KAZ)
UPSET QUEENS: The Bannerettes
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Italy (Pennetta "FSO" - ITA 4/6 FSO at Wimbledon; Schiavone another 1st Rd; Knapp ret.; Vinci disappoints)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Olga Govortsova/BLR (4th Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Jelena Ostapenko/LAT (2nd Rd.)
LAST BRIT STANDING: Heather Watson/GBR (3rd Rd.)
IT ("??"): ("Vandeweghe") Coco Vandeweghe/USA (1st slam QF, lives up to family history w/ New York Knick commentary)
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: #20 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
COMEBACK: #13 Aga Radwanska/POL
CRASH & BURN: #12 Genie Bouchard/CAN (1st Rd. loss to qualifier #117 Duan; was '14 finalist; two con. slam 1st Rd. losses) & #3 Simona Halep/ROU (1st Rd. loss to #106 Cepelova; lost to Bouchard in '14 SW19 semi)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: #1 Serena Williams (3rd Rd. - down double-break 3-0 in 3rd set vs. Watson, who served for match at 5-4 and was two points from victory)
THE RADWANSKA AWARD (June 26): Aga Radwanska & the seagull (in Eastbourne, bird swoops at Radwanska as she serves... one day later, she loses in the final)
THE RADWANSKA AWARD (Day 3): Day 3 is the hottest day ever recorded in Wimbledon history (35.7 C / 96 F), fire alarm evacuates Centre Court

Remember how Serena was thinking about Wimbledon right after winning at Roland Garros? Well...

All for Day 12. More tomorrow.


Blogger Diane said...

My like: That the champion is also the Zombie Queen! Really, this was one of the craziest tournaments Serena has ever been through--Heather, Venus, Vika, Maria. I don't think anything like this will ever happen again.

Other like: That, despite their eventual losses, JJand Aga are back! (And that remains my favorite match.)

Sat Jul 11, 09:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, and that's saying something when you consider the sometimes/often crazy path she's taken to 21 slams. At least nine of her titles have some after teetering on the edge of defeat. She could almost retire the ZQ award, I think:

2003 AO: 2 MP down vs. Clijsters in SF
2005 AO: 3 MP down vs. Sharapova in SF
2007 AO: Petrova/3r & Peer/QF served for match
2009 AO: Kuznetsova served for match in QF
2009 WI: Dementieva MP in SF
2010 AO: Azarenka served for match twice in QF
2012 US: Azarenka served for match in Final
2013 RG: Kuznetsova up break in 3rd in QF
2015 RG: Bacsinszky up break 6-4/3-2, 2-0 in 3rd in SF
2015 WI: Watson up dbl-bk 3-0 in 3rd, served for match

Yeah, Aga/JJ was a great match. I wish it'd gotten more attention. Maybe if it'd gone three... :\

Sat Jul 11, 11:48:00 PM EDT  

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