the legend

joyful rogger fedder

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Serena takes epic in her stride

Photo Titled Serena keeps on fighting
Serena William giving it her all on Centre Court.

For a woman who had just come through the longest women’s semi-final on record, squeezing past Elena Dementieva, the world No.4, 8-6 in the third set, Serena Williams was looking remarkably relaxed.

Dementieva had led by a set and had held a match point but Williams, in her own inimitable fashion, had found a way to survive.

The effort of the afternoon’s work had not exhausted her and the thought of playing her sister for the 21st time did not seem to faze her. It was just another day in the life of a serial Grand Slam champion.

“I think today she did well,” Williams said calmly of the Russian’s ferocious challenge. “I definitely think she played her best game. I've never seen her serve so well in my life. I think her second serves were in the upper 90s [mph], sometimes hundreds. To keep that up consistently for three sets is not very easy. I just think that she definitely played her best, personal best tennis today.

“I think she's definitely always been a great player. Talk about consistent. She's had such a good year already this year and really improved her game. You have to really appreciate that and like that.”

There were times when Williams did not appear to like anything that Dementieva had to offer, not at all. She had to scrap harder than she had anticipated to claim the second set and then was on the ropes in the third.

Relying on her serve – she racked up 20 aces – she just about made up for the inconsistencies in her ground strokes. But she knows she needs to find her range again on her forehand if she is to challenge her sister on Saturday.

“My forehand didn't show up today,” she said. “I think he went to Hawaii. But I've called him and asked her, I should say, to come back for the final. Hopefully she'll be back. I didn't hit my best today. But, you know, it's always good to win when one of your stroke's on vacation.”

With or without a forehand, Williams was just happy to be back in the final. Whether she had won easily in straight sets or taken the scenic route as she did against Dementieva, having the chance to have another crack at the Wimbledon title was all that mattered.

“As long as you come out with a big W, which can be Wilson, Williams or Wimbledon, I guess that's what matters,” she said.

So now there is just the small matter of family honours to be sorted out before the Williams sisters’ work is done in SW19. Venus is attempting to win her sixth title – Serena has only won twice – but that does not make her the overwhelming favourite.

Going into the final, the sisters are level on 10 matches apiece in their career rivalry and even when it comes to Wimbledon finals, they have played against each other four times and each won twice.

“I feel like going into this final I have nothing to lose,” Serena said. “I feel like obviously she's playing the best tennis at this tournament. Start with that, and then just keep positive and go with it. So I think that if I can do that, then it will be good.

“I’ll just play my game. You know, don't play like I did today, get caught too much near the Royal Box or in the Royal Box, saying ‘hi’ to the Duchess too much. Maybe that will help me out.”

And given that the sisters share everything in life, would she like the two of them to end their careers with their match record even? Er, no.

“Would I like it to end even?” she asked incredulously. “Of course not. Then I wouldn't win. I'm sure she feels the same.”

Stand by for another cracking family showdown on Saturday.

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