Sunday, July 4, 2010

My Wimbledon top 10

Here are my top 10 Wimbledon occurrences, in ascending order:

10. Close, but not there: Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams met in the round of 16, and 2005 Wimbledon champion Sharapova held three set points in the first set, but Williams prevailed--again--7-6, 6-4.

9. Clay, grass--who cares?: Not Jarmila Groth. Out of almost nowhere, the big-hitting Australian advanced to the round of 16 at the French Open, then repeated the feat at Wimbledon, where she played a quite respectable fourth round against Venus Williams.

8. Down and out: One of the most highly anticipated matches of this year's Wimbledon tournament was the round of 16 contest between Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters. Though Henin has been calling 2010 a "year of transition," there is no doubt that she had her eye on the Venus Rosewater dish. In the past, Henin has prevailed against Clijsters in big-time matches, but in this one, a slip on the grass was very costly. Henin fell on her right arm, and wasn't the same after she pulled herself up from the grass. Clijsters won, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, and Henin is out for two months with a partial ligament fracture in her elbow.

7. Russians stop Williams Grand Slam run: Serena and Venus Williams won the doubles championship at both the Australian Open and the French Open, and their chances to achieve the 2010 Grand Slam looked good. But then along came Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva, who put a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 end to the sisters' success. Elena Vesnina, in particular, played at an extremely high level, both on serve and otherwise, to defeat the top seeds.

6. Thriller!: Petra Kvitova saved five match points in what turned out to be my favorite match of the tournament. Playing against big-serving Kaia Kanepi, Kvitova--who was just about almost coming from behind--fought and scrapped for three hours until she wore Kanepi down.

5. Notable run finally halted "in the Serena": Petra Kvitova had a really tough draw at Wimbledon. She had to take out Sorana Cirstea, 2008 semifinalist Zheng Jie, 14th seed Victoria Azarenka, 3rd seed Caroline Wozniacki, and the resurgent Kaia Kanepi. That put her into the semifinals against Serena Williams, which was more than she could handle, but she made a good match of it. She talked the day before the semifinals about her chances "in the Serena," which she didn't seem to think were too good. They weren't, but Kvitova's Wimbledon run was outstanding.

4. Remember me?: For some time now, Tsvetana Pironkova has been known for her upsets, the most famous of which was the first round defeat of Venus Williams in the 2006 Australian Open. But Pironkova, despite having a clever and beautiful game, has always had trouble dealing with her nerves, and with recovering from errors. At Wimbledon, however, she used her considerable skills to get to the semifinals, and on the way, she took out Williams again, this time in the quarterfinals. The five-time Wimbledon champion was having an off day, but Pironkova made things even harder for her with her inventive shot-making. She lost to Vera Zvonareva in the semifinals, but one hopes that the talented Bulgarian will turn a corner after this experience.

3. We cannot be serious!: Who knew that competing in the Wimbledon doubles championship match could be so much fun? Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova had the time of their lives competing against Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva in the final. They won, too, and Shvedova became an instant doubles star during the match. It was just their third time to play together, and their smiles and consistently good humor were a sharp contrast to the somber proceedings on the other side of the net.

2. Russian tennis, see "Zvonareva": Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva weren't there. Svetlana Kuznetsova lost in the second round, Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko both lost in the third round, and Maria Sharapova went out in the round of 16. No worries--21st seed Vera Zvonareva went all the way to the final in both singles and doubles, and in doubles, Russian Elena Vesnina went with her. After working hard to come back after an especially bad 2009 ankle injury, Zvonareva defeated 15th seed Yanina Wickmayer, she  emerged the victor when 4th seed Jelena Jankovic retired, and then she upset 8th seed Kim Clijsters. She lost in straight sets to Serena Williams in the final, and she and Vesnina lost the doubles final, too; it didn't help that Zvonareva was in a major funk after losing the singles championship. But it was still an outstanding run on grass, and the best run of all the Russians.

1. Fly Me to the Moon: Asked to describe the little dance she did while holding the Venus Rosewater dish, 2010 Wimbledon champion Serena Williams said " I was really feeling Frank Sinatra‑ish, 'Come Fly With Me', ''Fly Me to the Moon'." She could probably win a championship played on the moon's surface, too, if it came to that. Williams won her fourth Wimbledon championship, and her thirteenth major, without dropping a set. She hit a total of 80 aces during the tournament, and she defended expertly. To the moon, indeed.


Overhead Spin said...

Hi Diane. Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004. How could you make such a mistake? Ted Robinson kept reminding us all of this fact in case we forgot. LOL

Diane said...

I know...And I think Kim Clijsters had a baby and came back to the tour, too ;]

Overhead Spin said...

LOL indeed. Every single time. It never stopped.