Foot Fault!

Calling all the lines of professional tennis

Well, That’s One Way To Make A Statement…

Under the lights and in front of a sell-out stanford crowd, Serena Williams ensured that the most anticipated match of the year was a blowout, extending her head to head to a 7-2 lead over Maria Sharapova, crushing her 6-1 6-3 in just over an hour to advance to her first semifinal since the comeback.

If it wasn’t clear to anyone before this match, it’s obvious that Serena would much rather jump off a cliff than lose to Maria Sharapova again. I mean, while her second round performance was messy and error-strewn against an inspired Kirilenko, she made sure that when she came out last night against Sharapova, the ship was completely righted. She served out of a plane, and backed it up with cool and calm shotmaking of the highest level.

There were moments in the match when a couple of loose shots have Serena the chance to right the ship, but she always pulled it back in with yet more polished shotmaking. And I think, for the rest of the players, that’s the scariest thing. This was a message to the rest of them - a message that said ‘if I can completely demolish a top five player and Wimbledon finalist while playing well within myself, just imagine what will happen to the rest of you when I actually hit my stride?’ If I was a top WTA player, I’d be shaking in my boots right about now.

But as for Maria, you can only really shake your head. I’ve never seen her look more petrified on a tennis court as she did last night. From start to finish she was just completely tight and tense. The serving was, as usual, a massive problem, but the telling thing is that those serving woes were for once completely overshadowed by the mere fact she could hardly get a groundstroke in court. Regardless of what she said before the match, the belief just wasn’t there. And for someone whose biggest strength is arguably her famous mental strength, grit and self-belief, that is an issue of epic proportions.

There are really only two positives to take out of this for her. Firstly, that this beatdown occurred at the very beginning of the US Open series. She still has just under a month to right the ship before the US Open next month, because if she wants to even contend for the next slams, this trend of crawling into the foetal position in every big match needs to be stamped out. Now.

And secondly, it could be much worse. At least she didn’t lose to Marina Erakovic unlike a certain someone, right?

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One Response to Well, That’s One Way To Make A Statement…

  1. bridgepea July 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    I dont know, maybe losing to Eranovic who played quite well by the way, could even be considered worse than what we witnessed last night. The most telling thing about Serena’s performance last night was just how controlled she was. There was none of the theatrics that we saw in her match when she just came back and was struggling at Eastbourne. There was not even the fired up ness that we saw against Kirilenko at Wimbledon when she was struggling. This performance was about being in total and complete control. The only time Serena showed any emotion was at match point when she spoke to her fist. There was nothing Maria could do and you have to think that this particular loss hurts even more than the one before.

    I wanted to see a no holds barred, drag down, pulling out of the hair fight, instead we got Mike Tyson against Buster Douglas. Just no contest.

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