Saturday, June 6, 2015

Super-athlete Serena Williams wins French Open for third time

A hundred years from now, when we're all dead and gone, Serena Williams might just have one more match left in her. Just saying.

Today, the world number 1 won the French Open for the third time, beating Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-7, 6-2. In doing so, Williams also won her 20th major singles title.

Williams started off strong, serving both with power and precision. Throughout the first set, Safarova struggled to keep up, as she rushed most of her shots and continually hit the ball out of the court. Safarova had hit with extraordinary control throughout the tournament, in which she hadn't dropped a set, but this was a different scenario. The Czech player had never before reached the final of a major, and now, here she was, playing in one, with Serena Williams standing across the court from her.

I expected the Czech star to straighten herself out in the second set, and I was a little surprised to see Williams go up 4-1. But then it happened: Safarova found her rhythm and recovered her form. She made a thrilling comeback, and the set went to a tiebreak, which Safarova won 7-2 with such ease, Williams looked stunned.

Safarova won the second set on her own merit, but it helped that Williams had begun to have trouble with her serve, double-faulting nine times throughout the match (an unusual stat for the world number 1, but I should add, she also hit 11 aces).

Safarova appeared to still have the momentum at the beginning of the final set, when she broke Williams right off. But at 1-2, when she hit her only double fault of the match, she was broken back. Williams broke her opponent again to go up 4-2, and that was that for Safarova's chances--maybe not technically, but reality-wise. Williams simply stormed through the remainder of the match, with Safarova saving one match point on her own serve, but then getting broken on the second.

This was a difficult French Open (they kind of all are) for Williams. She had to go three sets in five of her seven matches, and she was ill from the third round on. When she played Timea Bacsinszky in the semifinals, she was obviously very ill. But this is Serena Williams we're talking about, and she once again found a way to be the last woman standing.

Lucie Safarova had a wonderful run, reaching the final by taking out two former French Open champions (Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic), as well as clay court standouts Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Garbine Muguruza. And her performance in the second set of the final reminded us of everything she had accomplished during her two-week stay in Paris. Tomorrow, she and partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands will contend for the French Open doubles championship.

When the new singles rankings are posted tomorrow, Safarova will be number 7 in the world.

In the meantime, Serena can have some real illness recovery time before she heads to the grass courts to prepare for Wimbledon.

It was a dramatic final, fun to watch. I'll be glad to be rid of the ill-behaved French crowd, but mostly, I'm about to feel my usual letdown. The French Open is my favorite of the four majors, and I have no relief in sight, since it's followed by the major I can barely bring myself to watch.

1 comment:

shalini said...

Great re-cap Diane!
On the subject of Wimbledon- did you see that Inverdale has been replaced?