Roger Federer’s beautiful one hand backhand (above).
“You don’t have that room for movement with the 2-hander that you do with the one hand.”–Martina Navratilova
September 5, 2010
July 3, 2010
World # 21, Russian Vera Zvonareva has a tall order tomorrow in her first ever major final, as she is set to take on # 1 seed and defending champion, Serena Williams, who is yet to drop a set in this fortknight at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
While Zvonareva’s road to the final has been impressive and included wins over US Open Champion Kim Clijsters and world # 3 Jelena Jankovic, albeit a very banged up Jankovic (is there any other kind?), the 2009 Australian Open semi-finalist (she lost to eventual final’s loser, Dinara Safina, 7-6, 6-3), will be hardpressed to keep her Cinderella run alive tomorrow against Serena, who is 12-3 in major finals, and who has only lost to two women in those finals: her sister Venus, and Maria Sharapova.
Zvonareva’s perserverance must be lauded. She got out to bad starts in both the quarter and semi-final rounds, dropping the first set in Tuesday’s quarters to Kim Clijsters before pulling the upset, and in Thursday’s semis, when she lost the first set to Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3, before Pironkova seemed like she started letting nerves creep in during the 2nd set. But Zvonareva, a great touch player, won 29/35 points at net in a close match that she came out on top in, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, in which only 9 points separated the two players.
Zvonareva’s road to the final:
1st round: 6-4, 6-1 over Nuria Llagostera Vives
2nd round: 6-1, 6-4 over Andrea Hlavackova
3rd round: 6-4, 6-2 over (15) Yanina Wickmayer
4th round: 6-1, 3-0 over (4) Jelena Jankovic
Quarter-finals: 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 over (8) Kim Clijsters
Semi-finals: 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 over Tsvetana Pironkova
Zvonareva’s road gets much tougher come 9 AM EST, Saturday, NBC. Serena Williams, currently tied for 6th all time with Billie Jean King with 12 major singles titles, can move up that list by securing her fourth Wimbledon singles title, can also tie King’s 4 Wimbledon crowns in the open era, can pass Chris Evert with whom she is tied at 3 Wimbledon titles, and a victory would put her in a tie for 4th in the open era for most Wimbledon titles behind Martina Navratilova (9), Steffi Graf (7), Venus Williams (5), and King (4). Billie Jean King has won 6 singles titles at Wimbledon, 2 coming prior to the open era.
Serena will look to take the crown behind her incredible serve, called by many, including yours truly, the best serve in the game, and perhaps the best shot ever in the women’s game. Williams has 80 aces to lead the tournament, and in 2nd is Venus with only 30 aces (through 5 matches).
Unlike Paris, I don’t see a Cinderella story playing out against a top 5 player, all time, and by far, the best player in the game tomorrow. Zvonareva could play almost perfect tennis and still lose. Maybe that’s just me being patriotic on 4th of July weekend.
Serena leads in the head to head 5 to 1, and her only loss to Zvonareva came in Cincinnati in 2006 on hard courts.