While most of the blogosphere is focusing on how performances like Absinthe impact the Australian Open, folks like DC Scrap have been doing a great job of documenting the more well-known tennis hotties that have been appearing down under to play a little tennis; but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to contribute, because there is. We all know about the Ana Ivanovics and Maria Sharapovas of the world, but the list doesn’t start and end with those two.
No, women’s tennis is like an untapped natural resource of attractive women and me being the enterprising content producer I am, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t do my part and bring you these lovely ladies.
Ladies, you have a new number one tennis player in the world — Miss Serena Williams. After winning the US Open in dominating, overpowering fashion, Williams also became the world’s number one ranked player in the WTA. In order to win the Open, Serena had to overcome an eager Jelena Jankovic who played a brilliant defense match that tested Williams’ patience.
Ultimately, it was Serena’s powerful serve, her lethal ground strokes, and a nose for rushing the net successfully that secured her victory, 6-4, 7-5. Here’s a video of the final point and Serena’s subsequent celebration.
It looks like I picked the best night to start watching the US Open instead of simply relying on ESPN highlights, thanks to an epic quarterfinals match between the Williams sisters. There have been questions about the seeding because people wanted the match to be later on in the tournament; however, there’s only so much you can about US Open seeding — that is, nothing. You play what they give you based on how well you’ve performed on tour thus far.
And that’s why we were treated to such a great contest in the quarterfinals. Serena was victorious, beating Venus 7-6, 7-6 but she had to earn EVERY point she scored as Venus battled her younger sister to the very end and had ample opportunity to win each set she lost. To wit, Serena survived being down 6-5 in the second set with Venus facing numerous match point opportunities before her little sister forced the match into a tie-breaker.
But even there, Serena found the early going rough. At one point, she was trailing Venus 6-4 before she roared back — literally — to take the game, the set and the match as she won the tie-breaker, 9-7.
For me, this was easily one of the better women’s matches I’ve seen in some time. In the final games of the second set, neither sister was willing to give the other a point as they both yelled, screamed and grimaced after every stroke, feeding the already pumped up crowd.
Next up for Serena, who is looking to regain the overall number one ranking in the WTA, is Dinara Safina on Friday. Safina won the silver medal in Beijing recently but it’s hard to see anyone stopping Serena — unless, of course, she used all her reserves getting past her big sister.
While I’m not sure if men’s tennis exactly needed saving, you cannot deny just how beneficial a Wimbledon final like Nadal/Federer can be for a sport. John McEnroe called it the best match he had ever seen and of course, the ESPN’s of the world have been overflowing in their praise of Nadal — and after watching him withstand yesterday’s grueling marathon featuring Roger Federer-launched bombs coming at him to win his first Wimbledon title, it’s easy to see why.
In order for Nadal to win in London’s grass courts, he had to overcome the current king of that particular castle and the now-deposed ruler was not giving up his crown without a fight all-out war. What we the fans were treated to was some spectacular tennis and two players refusing to bend to the other.
In other words, the performance was so great, it should breath life into a sport that’s been waning on the popularity scale. And if you have any doubt about the magnitude of the victory, just watch Nadal’s reaction after the winning point.
Much like soccer, tennis fans have a tendency to base their allegiances on nationality and because of that — and the distinct lack of an American men’s player in the top portion of tennis’ pantheon — interest level in the United States isn’t what it once was during the days of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi as well as McEnroe and Jimmy Connors before them. But if any American tennis fans happened to watch the Rafael Nadal/Roger Federer final and still remained uninterested and jaded because Andy Roddick failed them again, they might want to think of returning their “Tennis Fan” membership card.
And if patriotism is the motivating factor for the level of interest in a sport, the performance of the Williams sisters should have been enough to at least attract the most jingoistic of fans. Hopefully, some of those blue-bloods stuck around long enough to catch yesterday’s spectacular display of tennis and perhaps developed a new respect and admiration for the two best players in the world.
Even if they aren’t American.
If that did actually occur but you are unsure how to continue this enjoyment when the US Open comes back to Flushing, NY, Eli Gieryna has a great post outlining some of the players you should be aware of.
Is this what were heading for in the women’s side of the Wimbledon draw? Judging by the way these two have played, it certainly looks that way. While the top-ranked women players are sitting at home watching the matches from home, the Williams sisters continue to slice their way through the remaining players and it definitely looks like these two will be meeting in Saturday’s women’s singles championship game.
Consider this, currently, Ana Ivanovic, Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jankovic, and Svetlana Kuznetsova — the top four ranked women players in the world — are no longer in the tournament. The highest remaining seed is Elena Dementieva, who holds the world’s fifth spot.
However, the stage is set for the Williams sisters to meet in the final as they stand on opposite sides of the Wimbledon bracket. In Serena’s side, she’ll have to get through the likes of Tamarine Tanasugarn and the aformentioned Dementieva. On the other side of the bracket, the sixth-ranked Venus will need to dispense with players like Agnieszka Radwanska (who beat Kuznetsova) to face her sister in the finals.
The presence of the Williams sisters is fitting, especially at Wimbledon. The sibling duo has won six of the last eight Wimbledon singles titles.
On the men’s side of the draw, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal continued their march towards a Wimbledon final rematch. Both advanced to quarterfinals this afternoon and if they continue winning, will face each other in the Wimbledon finals on Sunday.
Ana Ivanovic’s stay in London was short-lived as she was beaten down removed from the Wimbledon competition must unceremoniously by Zheng Jie, 6-1, 6-4. Jie, from China, is ranked 133rd in the world. Ivanovic was ranked first after winning the French Open. Ivanovic’s ouster comes on the heels of Maria Sharapova and opens the door for any number of the remaining women, including both of the Williams sisters.
Considering the way both Venus and Serena have played thus far, you have to think one or both will have something to say about how the title will be decided.
This is the way it was supposed to be — Roger Federer going against his clay-court nemesis in Rafael Nadal. While Federer owns him away from the French Open, Nadal has been so dominant on clay, he’s actually seeking his fourth-straight French Open title. But is this the year Federer breaks through and wins the French Open, the only major title he’s lacking from his resume?
If Federer is going to win, it’s fitting he’ll have to go through Nadal to do so. To advance, Federer beat local favorite Gael Monfils 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, 7-5. As for Nadal, he breezed into the Finals handling Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Again, looking at the preceding semi-final matches, it seems like Nadal has the advantage going in. He expended less energy dispatching his opponent and, of course, clay is his dominant surface.
However, to overlook Federer’s chances her are foolhardy. I mean, he’s only been the most dominant player in the world for a few years now…
The match takes place Sunday on the Chatrier court. Oh yeah, all apologies for the quick-and-dirty NBA Finals promotional images rip-off. Although, the image does seem fitting — you know, being an individual sport, and all.
While the men are deciding who plays on Sunday — Rafael Nadal already advanced, beating Novak Djokovic, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 while the Federer/Monfils match is currently in-progress — the Women’s Final is all ready to go. The match will feature Ana Ivanovic taking on the upstart Dinara Safina tomorrow afternoon on the Chatrier court.
To advance, Ivanovic outlasted Jelena Jankovic, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. In the other semi-finals match, Safina beat Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-3, 6-2. Looking at the scores, you have to believe because Safina had the easier match and therefore, expended less energy than her opponent, she’ll have much more than a fighting chance on Saturday. Of course, most of the Eye Candy appreciators will be watching for Ivanovic’s striking appearance but unfortunately for her, these things aren’t decided by how good you look.
And it’s hard to find anyone on the women’s side of the French Open who has been playing better tennis than Safina. In three straight matches, she’s beaten the Women’s number 1, 7 and 3rd ranked players in the world. Will she be able to beat the Women’s number 2 in Ivanovic? We’ll find out tomorrow.