Sunday, May 19, 2013

Williams wins Rome

Serena Williams, who defended her title last week in Madrid, won the Rome title today by easily defeating Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-3 in the final. Williams then put the icing on the cream cake by delivering her entire acceptance speech in Italian.

Earlier in the clay season, Williams won Charleston. This makes her the runaway favorite to win the French Open, the only major that she hasn't won multiple times. Williams won the French in 2002, but since then, has not been able to dominate on red clay because the slowness of the surface tends to neutralize her power and allows more clay-savvy players to take advantage.

Well, that was then--and this is now. Displaying a new dominance on the slowest of surfaces, Williams has become the woman to beat in Paris. Her two main competitors (in my opinion) are defending champion Maria Sharapova and Li Na. Each of them has also won the French Open once. Li's French Open warmup hasn't been that impressive; Sharapova (who withdrew from the Rome quarterfinals because of a viral illness) is going to be at the opposite end of the draw from Williams. Should the two top seeds prevail, it could be an interesting final--or not. Williams has been dominant over Sharapova on other surfaces for the last decade.

Last year, Sara Errani made it to the final, but her serve wasn't good enough to make her competitive against Sharapova. It still isn't.

There was an upset in the Rome doubles final, and it couldn't have been easy for the crowd. Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, the top seeds, were beaten  4-6, 6-3, 10-8 by the unseeded team of Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai. Errani and Vinci also lost to Hsieh and Peng in the second round in Indian Wells.


Karen said...

It was not a great final, but what it lacked in intensity it more than made up for it with some of the best quality hitting and movement that I have seen in a long while. This is the best I have seen Serena move on clay in a long time. I thought she played OK in the match against Halep, but against Vika, she was out defending Vika and out manouvering her. That angled CCBH was a killer today.

People were also talking about Vika's lack of fitness. Some said she was not as explosive off the ground as she usually is. I just think that clay much like it neutralises Serena's power, neutralises Vika's movement. She was playing hard court tennis on a clay court. With the way how Serena was moving, there was no way that Vika was going to win.

I have always heard people say that you need to slide on clay to be in position but I really witnessed in both finals against Maria and Vika. Serena slides on the stuff and it makes her be in better positions. Her opponents dont.

Diane said...

Maria's actually sliding some now, but probably not enough.

I agree with you about Vika. She's really not a clay court player; she's "thinking" hard court, and her body is going with that. I wonder what kind of clay court drills she's doing; Sumyk is a good coach. She will have to undergo a change of mentality in order to physically adjust to the strategies required to win big matches on red clay.

sabey said...

Karen is right in that there was some great hitting in that match. The acceptance speech in Italian stole the show though!