Monday, July 2, 2007

Wimbledon, Day 7--even more drama

The rains came again, and along with them, some predictable match results, though some matches were rather close. Not a surprise was Tamira Paszek's three-set upset of Elena Dementieva. Paszek faces Svetlana Kuznetsova next, and I think the chances are reasonable for another upset. Of all the rising stars on the tour, it is Paszek who stands out a bit, partly because she seems to have the fearlessness that is necessary to perform upsets at major tournaments. She's only 16, but when we recall Chris Evert and Martina Hingis, we know that being very young does not have to be a handicap.

The outstanding match today, though, was the one played by Serena Williams and Daniela Hantuchova. Lately, we have been seeing the Hantuchova who rose up the rankings a few years ago, and she was in good form much of the time when she played Wiliams today in their round of 16 match. There was certainly no shortage of drama: Toward the end of the second set, Williams collapsed on the court because of a strain in her left calf. Her pain was palpable, and she received treatment. After the treatment, it looked as though she might retire, but she kept going. Luck was with her--it began to rain so hard that play had to be delayed.

Two hours later, Williams emerged all bandaged and in a track suit, and unable to move side to side very well. Hantuchova won the set in a tiebreak, and in the third set, Williams was once again dominant. She broke Hantuchova at 2-3, and in the next game, Hantuchova had a break point on Williams, but a 76 mph kick serve threw Hantuchova off balance, and she was never able to regain ground; in fact, she folded under the pressure of the moment, and made it easy for Williams to take care of the set. Final score: 6-2, 6-7, 6-2

Player of the day: Serena Williams--brave and clever and a champion through and through, though there is another side of this story: A doctor who checked Williams said she risked long-term injury if she went back on the court without getting her leg scanned. We will all have to stay tuned.

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