Serena Williams confirms greatness with French Open win

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    They said Maria Sharapova was the queen of Clay, but it was a completely different story on Saturday when Serena Williams unseated the defending champion to win only her second French Open title with a clinical straight-sets victory.

    The pre-match predictions that another one-sided contest between Williams and Sharapova would eventuate did not turn out that way in the first set, when Sharapova broke for an early 2-0 lead.

    She had a game point to go 3-0 up, but Serena would come back, as she always does, and take the first set 6-4.

    It appeared Williams had slowed down after she absolutely crushed Sara Errani in the semi-finals.

    Sharapova, on the other hand, had entered the championship final on the back of a three-set victory over her Belarussian nemesis Victoria Azarenka.

    Eventually, Williams would win the second set by the same scoreline, to continue a 12-year streak of women’s finals being decided in straight sets.

    There has not been a three-set women’s final since 2001, when Jennifer Capriati edged out Kim Clijsters in an epic; the final set that year stretching to 12-10.

    Finally, Williams has capped off a strong clay court season with the French Open title, something that had eluded her for the past decade while the likes of Justine Henin, Ana Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Francesca Schiavone and Li Na took the limelight.

    Williams entered the French Open having won clay court titles in Charleston, Madrid and Rome, and now her title in Paris completes what I like to call the ‘Clay Court Slam’ – that is, winning the two big build-up tournaments (Madrid and Rome) and the Grand Slam (French Open).

    With that, she also finishes this year’s clay court series undefeated.

    Ana Ivanovic’s (2008) and Maria Sharapova’s (last year) French Open titles should have huge asterisks marked next to them.

    Ivanovic was very lucky to win in 2008; that year, Serena Williams would have met the Serbian in the quarter-finals (and recorded a routine straight sets victory, as she had already done at the US Open in 2006) and had a much easier draw than her, but instead Katarina Srebotnik sent her packing in the third round.

    It should also be noted that Ivanovic had a very poor build-up to the tournament, crashing out early in two of three tournaments leading up to Paris, including an embarrassing third round thrashing at the hands of Lindsay Davenport in Miami and a second round dismissal by Tsvetana Pironkova in Rome.

    Compare that to Williams’ pre-French Open build-up, whereby she won Bangalore, Miami and Charleston (on green clay), and also reached the quarter-finals in Berlin and Rome.

    Throw in the fact that Serena had beaten Ivanovic in their only previous meeting and the draw was set for Serena to take title number two in Paris.

    But it was not to be, and Ivanovic would barely be troubled on her way to capturing her only French Open title, with her only threat being Jelena Jankovic in the semi-finals.

    Maria Sharapova’s name also appeared on the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen by luck as well.

    When the draw was released last year, she found Serena Williams assigned to her quarter (this was also the case at the Australian Open in the same year).

    Williams had handled her easily in Madrid on the way to winning the title. Her record against Sharapova also speaks for itself.

    The potential was there for a blockbuster quarter-final showdown between the two, but Serena Williams was upset in the first round by Virginie Razzano, a defeat which would mark a massive turning point in her career and has since spurred her on to what she is achieving now.

    Like Ivanovic in 2008, Sharapova was barely troubled on her way to winning the title, with the only genuine threat, Petra Kvitova, proving no match for the Russian in the semi-finals.

    It was last year’s French Open title that completed a career Grand Slam for the Russian. Last night, she was unsuccessful in defending her title, but she didn’t give up in the face of Serena Williams’ onslaught.

    In my opinion Serena Williams should have at least four French Open titles by now. In those two years in which she lost, she was either cursed or just didn’t have a good day at the office.

    If those had not happened then she would have at least four of each Grand Slam title, and next year could be shooting for a fifth title in Paris to have an even (at least) five titles of each Grand Slam.

    One deserving winner, though, was Svetlana Kuznetsova. She deserved her title because she defeated Williams in what would be an epic three-set quarter-final, and not only that, she defeated the rampaging hot favourite, Dinara Safina, in the final.

    Note that I did not mention Justine Henin’s 2007 quarter-final victory over Williams, because nobody was going to beat the Belgian at the French Open that year.

    Williams is now the only active French Open champion to have triumphed more than once, after her victory way back in 2002; the title which started her ‘Serena Slam’.

    And had it not been for a three-set loss to Sloane Stephens in the quarter-finals of this year’s Australian Open, the second edition of the “Serena Slam” would have been complete by now.

    To complete the second edition this time around, she will have to successfully defend her Wimbledon and US Open titles, as well as win next year’s Australian Open.

    With the form that she is showing right now, it’s hard to tip against that happening.

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    The Crowd Says (2)

    • June 10th 2013 @ 2:35am
      Johnno said | June 10th 2013 @ 2:35am | ! Report

      Best ever singles player last 50 years. If we go all time Australian Margaret court wins hands down followed by Navratalova, as her double’s stats are so good. Serena williams has a great doubles record too. My best women’s all time.

      SIngles record

      1)Margaret Court
      2)Serena Williams
      3)Steffi Graf
      4)Navratalova
      5)Chris Evert
      6)Monica Seles
      7)Bill Jean King
      8)Justin Henin
      9)Evone Cawley
      10)Venus Williams

      P.S: Margaret Court born 1942, did play in an era when tennis was weaker less global, as did Billy Jean King born in 1942, and some of Evon Cawley’s career too born in 1951.

      But here records were all so good, but I have downgraded some of there efforts, but all in all Margaret Court is like Don Bradman, her statistical record is so good.

      Evert and Martina Navaratalova, such good records. Reason I went for Navratalova in an extremely tight battle for 4th spot.

      -Navratalova VS Evert wimbledon finals. Navratalova 5-0
      -US Open finals : Navratalova 2-0
      French Open finals: 3-1 Evert
      Australian open finals: 2-1 Navratalova

      Overall is she is better in the finals when they met. And on each of there best surfaces, clay or grass, Navratlova is more dominant than evert at WImbledon in comparison to clay.

      Interestingly though, Evert outside of wimledon at grand slams, has done better than Navaratalova basically, at US, French opens especially French she blows Navratalova out the water, same way Navratalova blows out Evert at WImbledon.

      Navratalova has still won more titles thanks to her imperious Wimbledon record.

      Navratalova won 9 wimbledon. Evert still won an impressive 3 wimbledon. But Nadal has only won 8 French, so Martina’s wimbledon record sure is good.

      Evert though has a great French record. 7 French open titles , Navratalova only 2. But 2 is still very good by any players standard’s
      Evert 6 US Open titles, Navratalova 4
      OZ open. Navratalova 3, Evert 2

      But the point about Evert never beating Navratalova or Evert in a Wimbledon or US open final, is what does it for me.
      Navratalova is behind 3-1 to evert at the French, but she did beat her on Evert’s best surface, Evert failed to beat Navratalova in a wimbledon or US open final.
      And evert won 6 US open’s, never beat Navratalova to win a US open though.

      So that’s my top 10. Unlucky was Capriati. Venus was very good, she had injury problems too. Tough call on both, if Capriati had stayed fit she would of won a US open I think. Venus still being pretty average on clay still, pinched 1 french open final runner-up.
      Nothing in it between Venus/Capraiti, Venus Williams top class wimbeldon record does it for me. She is in the top 5 or 6 ever on grass, WImbledon,. Many good players there.

      I wonder if Evert, or Navratalova or Cawley would be as dominant today, as still the mid-70’s and 80’s tennis was not as global as the late 80’s and 90’s, in Graf and Seles time.

      Also in the 2000’s Williams sister’s has had to deal with all the eastern europeans and russians in much larger number’s than the 80’s.

      The Czech’s were always strong, but the USSR didn’t produce a lot of top women’s player’s. Natalia Zvereva played under the USSR banner and lost to Graf in a French open final, but she was from Belarus.

      • June 10th 2013 @ 2:50am
        Johnno said | June 10th 2013 @ 2:50am | ! Report

        Evert went ahead of Seles, as Seles was pretty average on grass. She had Graf in a tough game at wimbledon final 1992 rain delay tok 5 hours to end, but it was a tense match, but sells admit’s the rain delay would make no difference. They met twice on grass at wimbledon. 1989 4th round 1st tine Graf thrashed a very young Seles, Graf herself was only 20, Seles was only 15.
        But Graf still won 6-2 6-1 in 1992 final. But Seles was no 1 in the World when that wimbledon final was on. But Graf was still the superior grass player, all her stats on grass destroy Seles. Seles never won wimbledon anyway, and has a pretty average record at wimbledon, even in her prime.

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