Thursday, July 7, 2011
Behind The Scoreboard
Give Williams sisters few more years
Before anyone starts to flay me nine ways from football season for whipping the proverbial dead horse, just let me say that the Williams sisters’ exit from this season’s Wimbledon was far from an ignominious dismissal.
One has to give the ladies their props for giving their bodies and mentalities the mettle to survive the first three rounds. Both sisters had admitted that the “round of 16” was the biggest challenge.
Serena, who had experienced the greatest hardship, had not predicted a clear path to the finals in this one. Au contraire, she had related in her press conference that it would be “a one match at a time” process. And one has to admit that her first three matches had been impressive, showing intensity, agility and strength.
The sisters had been playing on opposite days until June 27 (Monday), when they had matches following each other. Venus was on Centre Court and Serena was on court number one. Serena, ranked number seven, squared off against Marion Bartoli of France, ranked number nine. Bartoli had lost to sister Venus in the ’07 finals.
Serena dropped the first set 6-3 to the French woman. And still sporting the wide band-aid looking strips down her back, she took leads at 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3 in the second set and forced the set into a 6-6 tie-break. She short-chopped one into the net which allowed her opponent to tie. Then she came back with a 114-mph return to gain another lead point. Bartoli brought some fire of her own, acing the next serve. The magnificent match came to an end with Bartoli getting the two-point advantage on a fifth match point.
The collective look on the entire face of the Williams retinue was apparent – there would be no “three-peat” for their champion.
The domino fall was complete when sister Venus was upended in straight sets by Tsetevana Pironkova of Bulgaria. Williams had been upgraded to number 23 and Pironkova was listed at number 32. The latter had bested the former in the quarters last season at Wimbledon.
There are some who think the Williams dynasty is over. I say naw – give them three more seasons.
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