Saturday, July 7, 2012
Toward the end of that set, rain had begun to fall lightly. A rain break ensued, and when play resumed, after 23 minutes, "current" confident Radwanska stepped onto the court, along with the sometimes-current somewhat withdrawn (for her) Williams. Serving at 3-2, 0-30, Williams looked as thought she might be broken, but she held. Radwanska held, too, and then the match started to get more interesting.
Serving at 4-3, Williams engaged in a 22-shot rally which Radwanska won with her now-signature backhand down the line. Williams was then broken, but immediately, Radwanska went down 0-30 on her own serve. She held, however, making it 5-4, and meaning that the 3rd seed was ahead for the first time in the match. The wind had picked up by this time, creating more of a challenge to the players. Radwanska, occasionally coughing because of an upper respiratory infection, went to her squat shot over and over.
At 5-all, Radwanska held at love, then carried her confidence into the next game, breaking Williams again. Radwanska held her next service game to take the second set 7-5.
At 1-all in the third set, Radwanska faced two break points, but held on. But then she found herself serving at 2-4, and--though she saved three break points--she was put away by a deft drop shot from Williams. The real Serena Williams was on the court again, not the uncertain, slightly anxious one who went out in the first round of the French Open and who made an appearance in the second set of today's match. Williams routinely went about closing the match with a backhand winner on her own serve, then fell supine onto the grass, perhaps eyeing a cloud formation that looked a lot like the number 14, because that is now the number of singles majors that the great champion has won.
Williams hit 17 aces (four of them struck consecutively )in today's match, and had a total of 58 winners to only 13 unforced errors.
There is some high drama in women's tennis these days. Maria Sharapova recently became the only player in history to have major shoulder surgery and then win a major. Serena Williams went through a medical nightmare, then returned to do very well, and--ultimately--to win another Wimbledon. And--though her result is less dramatic--it's a good time to mention that the clever and ever-improving Radwanska made it to the Wimbledon final after many (I wasn't one of them) said it could never happen.
The 30-year-old Williams is now tied with sister Venus, who also has five Wimbledon titles. Williams served 102 aces during the tournament, a fact which requires no embellishment on the part of anyone writing about tennis. One can only imagine what this type of serving does for Williams' confidence, or what holding the Venus Rosewater dish does for her belief as she leaps into her tennis future.