Monday, January 25, 2010

She's number 1!

Serena Williams' Australian Open round of 16 defeat (6-4, 6-2) of 13th seed Samantha Stosur not only put her into the quarterfinals; it also secured her spot as number 1 in the world. That's fitting, because Williams' performance was riveting. The quality and consistency of both her first and second serves were so high, that even an expert server like Stosur could do little but watch as one ace or near-ace after another came hurtling over the net.

Early in the second set, Stosur had triple break point, marking the first time in the tournament that anyone had break points against Williams. Williams saved all three, and that was that. Stosur has played better than she did in this match; but her performance was not bad. Williams' first and second serve percentages were 86 and 81, respectively. She hit 30 winners, including 10 aces, and was successful 12 of 13 times she went to the net.

The last match in the round of 16 was a three-setter played between 9th seed Vera Zvonareva and 7th seed Victoria Azarenka. Azarenka, in four previous meetings, had never taken a set off of Zvonareva, but last night, after giving up the first set 4-6 and going down a break in the second, she took the second two emphatically, winning ten games in a row to complete the match.

Azarenka's 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory books her a quarterfinal match against top seed Serena Williams. There is some drama here, since--at last year's Australian Open--Azarenka had taken the first set against Williams in the round of 16 when she fell victim to food poisoning and had to retire.

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