Saturday, April 5, 2008

Serena Williams takes her 5th Miami title

No matter what your expectations were of the Sony Ericsson Open women's final, you were probably thrown off balance. The usually relentless Jelena Jankovic--troubled yet again by an upper respiratory infection--was hardly present at all for the first set, which Serena Williams took effortlessly, 6-1. I assumed Jankovic was so ill that she would perhaps retire. But in the second set, Williams began to make errors, and Jankovic's fighting spirit suddenly emerged, to the tune of a 7-5 victory. Jankovic, in fact, broke Williams at love when she served for the championship at 5-4.

Neither player took the allowed ten-minute heat break between the second and third sets, but during a third set changeover, Jankovic did see the trainer and get some medicine (which she declared "disgusting") for her infection. She then proceeded to play poorly again, while Williams once again fine-tuned her game and her movement. If you were watching and you predicted an easy close at 3-0 for Williams, however, you still didn't have it right. In fact, you had it wrong if you predicted it when Williams was at 5-1. Once again, Jankovic broke Williams when she served for the championsip, and then--out of nowhere--the great Serbian player with the mediocre serve began to serve quite well.

Jankovic's breakthrough and Williams' anxiety were enough to help Jankovic save seven championship points, but not enough to keep defending champion Williams from earning her fifth Miami title.

Williams def. Jankovic, 6-1, 5-7, 6-3

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