London Olympic Games 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

Serena Williams Easily Reaches US Open Final

US Open Tennis.JPEG
Serena Williams Easily Reaches US Open Final

The latest woman to absorb a lopsided loss against Serena Williams thinks the 14-time Grand Slam champion should take on a new challenge.

"Given that men are always quick to say women are a lot worse ... I'd love to see her play in a (lower-level) men's tournament and see how they deal with her. It's easy to talk. On the court, it would be different," the 10th-seeded Sara Errani said.

"I've practiced with a lot of guys ranked 400th or 500th," Errani explained. "I've never played with a man who hits as hard as she does."

Williams wasted little time or energy while overwhelming Italy's Errani 6-1, 6-2 on Friday night to reach the final and move one victory away from a fourth U.S. Open championship. With a 38-6 edge in winners and nine aces to raise her tournament-leading total to 50, Williams needed only 64 minutes to dismiss Errani, the runner-up at the French Open.

Not only has Williams won every set she's played, she's dropped a total of only 19 games across six matches.

Indeed, Errani found some satisfaction in forcing Williams to stay on court for more than an hour.

"My objective," Errani said, "was to prolong the match as much as possible."

In Saturday night's final, the fourth-seeded Williams will face top-ranked Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who beat Maria Sharapova in three sets earlier Friday. Williams is 9-1 against Azarenka.

"Obviously, Victoria wants to win, too," Williams told the crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium. "But I'm American, guys. Last one standing. Go USA!"

It was 12 months ago that Williams was stunned in straight sets in the U.S. Open final by Sam Stosur of Australia. Facing a break point at the start of the second set, Williams pounded a forehand she celebrated with her familiar yell of "Come on!" But she screamed as Stosur was reaching to return the shot. The chair umpire awarded the point to Stosur, setting Williams off on a series of insults directed at the official, including, "You're just unattractive inside."

In the 2009 semifinals in New York, Williams launched into her infamous foot-fault tirade and was docked a point on match point, ending a loss to Kim Clijsters.

When a reporter mentioned to Williams, who won the U.S. Open in 1999, 2002 and 2008, that nothing of that sort has happened this year, she replied: "Hey, it's not done yet."

"Well, I did grunt once today, and I thought, 'God, I hope I don't lose the point," Williams said. "Like I said, my goal this year was not to get in any fights."

Everything has gone so smoothly these two weeks.

It's part of a stretch of dominance that has carried her to a 25-1 record since a shocking first-round exit at the French Open in late May, the only time in 49 Grand Slam appearances that Williams lost her opening match.

Her recent surge includes titles at Wimbledon and the London Olympics.

"It's really awesome," Williams said in an on-court interview. "That is what I wanted, and what I dreamed of, all year."

In many ways, her semifinal was a complete mismatch.

Errani had never been past the third round at the U.S. Open — and never past the fourth round at any major tournament — until this year. She reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January, then made it all the way to the final at the French Open, losing there to Sharapova.

So Friday's match was only her second major semifinal, Williams' 22nd, and that disparity showed right from the outset.
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US Open 2012: Serena Williams vs Sara Errani – as it happened

US Open 2012: Serena Williams vs Sara Errani – as it happened


Serena Williams has beaten Sara Errani 6-1, 6-2 in the second women's semi-final at the 2012 US Open, and that about sums up what you need to know from a match that should have been prefixed by the very definition of 'mis'. Errani is the world No10, which is fair enough, but Serena Williams is the No4 and that seems a tad odd, all told. You'd have to back her to beat Victoria Azarenka in tomorrow, Saturday night's final.

Remains only to a) put out an all-boffins call for an explanation of the rankings system and b) ponder how to play myself out.

Well, there's only one way, isn't there?

Will be back – with Sir Roger, possibly, whether beating up muppets while singing at them or not – tomorrow.

Serena Williams wins 6-1, 6-2

Second set: Williams 6-2 Errani* (*denotes next server) Williams wins 6-1, 6-2

Serena to serve for the match, which one rather expects she will win in something rather like short order.

Errani challenges a call on the first point, and loses the challenge as her return was indeed out. Serena dominates the next point, behind a heavy serve, for 30-0. Williams has won 21-9 on unforced errors, but this is triple match point time.

Match point #1: not an ace, though it looked like one. A second serve ace follows, though, and in an hour and four minutes that's that and Serena Williams will face Victoria Azarenka tomorrow – Saturday – night.

Second set: Williams* 5-2 Errani (*denotes next server) Williams leads 6-1, 5-2

Errani to stay in it, then... Serena tries a ludicrously optimistic drop shot from the baseline and doesn't make it, so it's 15-0, and it's 30-0 as a return of serve goes long. An Errani error follows, though - under no pressure whatsoever - and another on a sliced backhand to the baseline. Some form of game plan there... not that it worked.

At 30-all, Serena plays a fine double-handed backhand down the lines and it is, inevitably, match point.

Match point #1: Serena hits the net with her service return, and then misses an aggressive attempted winner down the line. Serena tries a drop shot, seems to amble after it and Errani gets to it to play the winner and take the game.

Second set: Williams 5-1 Errani* (*denotes next server) Williams leads 6-1, 5-1

Serena to serve, needing only two games to get this semi-final over and done with. Massive first serve for 15-0, although Errani got a touch on it to stop Serena taking four aces in a row.

A rather feathered, placed ace makes it 30-15, though, and a bad error on the forehand for Errani makes it 40-15. Ace does it.

Second set: Williams* 4-1 Errani (*denotes next server) Williams leads 6-1, 4-1

Marvellous winner from Serena when Errani makes a rare appearance at the net, a forehand too hard and too low for the Italian to cope. The next point is bossed by Serena for 0-30 and the one after that... brings a bad error from Serena at the net. Double-handed backhand to open court and she duffed it. Hey-ho.

And another error, double-handed forehand into the net this time, makes it 30-all. Williams' errors are keeping Errani vaguely alive, but break point then arrives with a fierce backhand at the net and a very loud scream indeed.

Can one be "vaguely alive"? Surely one is alive or one, well, isn't.

As if to illustrate the point, Errani loses break point on the rally, finding the net yet again, and thus, to all intents and purposes, now isn't alive in this match.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Serena Williams wins Family Circle Cup title

Serena Williams wins Family Circle Cup title

Charleston: Serena Williams capped a dominant week with another powerful performance to beat Lucie Safarova 6-0, 6-1 and capture her first clay-court tournament in four years at the Family Circle Cup on Sunday.

Williams didn't drop a set in five matches this week and lost only three games over the weekend, dispatching Samantha Stosur, 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals before ousting Safarova. She hadn't won a tournament on clay — or even gotten to a final on the surface — since taking the 2008 championship here.

Williams has said throughout the week how comfortable she felt in her short time on clay this year. That showed against the 25-year-old Safarova, ranked 26th in the world.

Williams served a 107-mph ace on match point, shrieking in joy and waving to the crowd.
Williams came into the week off a trip to the quarter-finals at the Sony Ericsson Open and had just a day or so to get in any work on the slower clay at the Family Circle Tennis Center. She looked rusty in her opening match, a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Elena Vesnina on Tuesday.
But Williams came back in her next match with a strong attitude and a much sharper game. She took out Marina Erakovic 6-2, 6-2 and was in control early in her quarterfinals win over Sabine Lisicki, who retired after twisting her left ankle.
Williams was at her best, though, on the weekend.
She didn't give Stosur, the reigning US Open champion, room to breathe in the semi-finals. Williams concluded the clay-court run with her win over Safarova.
How dominant was Williams' serve? She was not broken in 24 service games over her last four matches.
"She was amazing," said Safarova, who fell to 0-5 against Williams. "She deserves to be the champion."
And Williams may be prepared to win even more this clay-court season.
She's not scheduled to play again until next month in Madrid, then at the Italian Open before moving on the Paris for the year's second Grand Slam, the French Open.
Williams has talked frequently this week of her desire to add another title at Roland Garros — she won her only French crown in 2002 — to her Hall-of-Fame resume of 13 major championships. She also talked about moving to Paris.
The Family Circle Cup victory was a great start to her clay-court season.
Williams also was happy to honor the 40th anniversary of the Family Circle tournament and the legacy of women's tennis. The tournament named its stadium court for tennis great and pioneer Billie Jean King, who was on court during Williams' trophy ceremony.
King and members of the Original 9 players, who defied the tennis establishment to form the first women's tour and fight for better prize money, were saluted during the weekend
Williams earned $115,000 for the victory, a far cry from the first Family Circle in 1973 that offered a then-unheard of $100,000 in total prize money.
"I want to thank, Billie," Williams said. "Without her, I don't know if any of us would be here."

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Serena routs Stosur, reaches Family Circle final

Serena routs Stosur, reaches Family Circle final

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (AP) – Serena Williams even impressed herself with her powerful showing at the Family Circle Cup on Saturday, beating Sam Stosur 6-1, 6-1 to advance to the final.

Williams needed less than an hour to dispatch the second-seeded Australian — the woman who beat her in last year's U.S. Open final — and progress to the decider of this clay-court tournament.
"It was just one of those days that I could have done anything against anybody," Williams said.
MORE: WTA's Original 9 reunite
The 10th-ranked player was on her game from the start, winning the match's first eight points and rarely letting Stosur catch a breath.

On Sunday, Williams will face Lucie Safarova, who had an even more lopsided victory, dispatching Polona Hercog 6-0, 6-0.
Stosur held serve to cut Williams' lead to 2-1, then lost the next nine games.

Williams hit a forehand winner to end the match moments later, and eliminated Stosur from a tournament for the second straight week. Williams beat Stosur 7-5, 6-3 last week at the Sony Ericsson Open, serving 20 aces — tying per personal best — in the hard-court win.

Williams only had seven aces in this one, but was in command of nearly every shot she hit.
"I have to say this is probably the best match I've played in my career, either in a long time or it's up there in the top five," Williams said.

Safarova has lost all four times she's played Williams. The 25-year-old from the Czech Republic watched the opening semifinal and said she'll have a plan to slow down Williams' attack. After all, Safarova didn't lose a game in her semi, something she joked about with Serena.

"'Yeah, I got you,'" Safarova told Williams when they saw each other after the match.
If Williams matches her Saturday effort in the finals, Safarova will have her hands full. "It's a great challenge. She's a great player," Safarova said, "and you see what she's done today."

Stosur, the 28-year-old ranked fifth, combines a powerful serve with the fitness to chase down about any shot. She rallied on Friday to defeat Serena's older sister, Venus, and was seeking to become just the eighth player to beat both Williams sisters in the same tournament.
Serena quickly made sure that didn't happen.

"She was way too good today," Stosur said. "She was pretty happy with the way she played."
The hole in Williams' Hall-of-Fame resume is clearly on clay. She owns 13 Grand Slam titles, but just one coming at the French Open. Williams beat sister Venus in 2002 for the championship at Roland Garros. Serena reached the semifinals there the next year and has not made it past the quarterfinals in five appearances since.

Williams believes she's sliding better than she has in recent years and excited about her prospects on the surface this year.
"I'm trying to play like this at the end of the clay-court season," she said. "So we'll see."
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