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Wimbledon Day 7: Marquee Matches

Posted by gauloises1 on June 29, 2010

Serena Williams d. Maria Sharapova, 76(9) 64

You just knew Maria was going to turn it on for this match, and my god, did she. The first set was ridiculously good tennis – if you didn’t see it, get it – and had it not been for Serena’s phenomenal serving (and a couple of errors by Sharapova at very crucial moments in the hotly-contested tiebreak) it could and would have gone the other way. The second set perhaps inevitably didn’t live up to the standard as Serena got the bit firmly between her teeth, but it was still a great display of first-strike tennis and a very impressive victory for the defending champion.

At some point, though, Maria is going to have to start winning these close ones if she’s going to get back to where she was. After watching her today, I feel more confident than I have done at any point that that will happen. She gave another great presser, too:

Q. The last three tournaments you played very close to very good players in all matches. Do you feel like you’re close to getting over the line? What’s it going to take for you to tip the scales in your favor?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I was very happy that I was put in the situations and I got myself in the situation in order to win the match. I certainly could have done a little bit of better job in executing.

You know, I can sit here and whine about that. But the fact that I gave myself a chance and I went out there and I’m feeling, you know, just really happy to be playing out there the way I want to play and the way that makes me happy playing, uhm, it’s a joy to be out there again.

She really means it too. Kudos – and kudos to Serena for another stunning performance. Is there anyone in the game who plays better as the favourite than Serena, who handles that pressure better? Serious question.

Kim Clijsters d. Justine Henin, 26 62 63

Who called it? Oh that’s right. Me. It didn’t play out quite as I thought it would; Justine made a great start and Kim was, by her own admission, nowhere to be found. Justine took a bad fall and received treatment for the elbow injury she incurred, and Kim took total charge of the second set. Then we all sat forward in our seats for the third set.

I honestly thought coming into this match that Justine simply wanted to win here too much, and that it would lead her to over-press – fatal, given the tactical alterations she’s made to her game which sit uneasily whatever she says – and that was very much the way it played out. She simply pushed too hard in a way that looked too uncomfortable, pressing forward down the middle of the court and either missing or leaving herself open rather than working the angles in the way she used to do. And so the grand Wimbledon campaign ends at the hands of someone whose comeback seems to have been a lot more fun than hers so far. C’est la vie.

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