Entries in Serena (2)

Friday
Dec302011

5 Women's Tennis Players to Watch in 2012 

Days away from the opening WTA tournament, I'm reflecting on 2011 and pondering who I'm most excited to watch.  When Australian tennis breaks, I'll be looking at these players and deciding how far to place them in my Australian Open bracket.

Petra Kvitova - After winning Wimbledon, 4 WTA titles and the WTA Champioinships in 2011, only 100 (and some) points separate her from Wozniacki in the WTA rankings.  Might we finally have a number 1 player with a grand slam in their pocket?

Serena Williams - Though she only played 4 hard court tournaments in 2011, she won 2 and went to the final of another (the US Open).  Entering the Australian tennis season, this 5x Australian Open champion is always one to watch.

Angiezka Radwaska - Despite a shoulder injury, Angiezka closed the 2011 season with with 3 hard court wins (Beijing, Tokyo & Carlsbad), taking down a few top 5 players in the process.  If she plays the Australian tennis circuit with that level play, she'll break into the top 5 soon.

Kaia Kanepi - 3 months ago, I wouldn't have imagined Kaia in this list but after her October wins against Wozniacki, Schiavone, Lisicki, Kuznetzova & Pennetta, I'm wondering if this could be her breakthrough year.

Angelique Kerber - When the 92nd ranked player makes the semis of the US Open, they are worth watching. 

Sunday
Sep112011

Sam Stosur - The 2011 US Open Champion

It's deserving that Sam Stosur should win the 2011 US Open as Sam provided fans with some of the best tennis of the tournament. 

Her 3rd round match against Nadia Petrova was the longest match for women's tennis since the tie break rule was created. She lost 2 match points in the 2nd set, only to be broken by Petrova and lose the set.  She also lost serve in the 3rd set and stuggled to come back and win.  Since I had her going to the finals in my bracket, this was a paticularly tense match for me. View photos from the Sam Stosur / Nadia Petrova match

It didn't get any less stressful in the next match against Kirlenko.  She squandered match points again in the second set and lost it in a record-breaking tie-breaker (17-15). But she managed to pick it up in the 3rd and win the match.

Seeing how Zvonereva dominated Lisiki, I didn't have high hopes for Sam to win that match.  Instead, Sam Stosur was dominant, winning 6-3, 6-3 in just over an hour.

At this point, I definitely thought she could get to the final, but it took her 3 sets to beat the 92nd ranked player, Angelique Kerber. 

Serena Williams on the other hand was dominant in all her matches.  She hadn't dropped a set.  She served up bagels.  She beat the number 1 player, Caroline Wozniacki and the 4th seed, Victoria Azarenka. It was hard to imagine that Sam Stosur could beat the former number 1 player and former US Open Champion, given their very different roads to the final.

But Sam was perfect.  Frequently serving and sometimes breaking at love, she was clearly the winner, despite the drama around an unusual call by the chair that gave Sam a break in the first game of the second set (to Serena's fury).

Sam won the US Open 2011 6-2, 6-3 giving Australia something to be proud of. 

As a result, I lost my bracket, but the joy of watching great tennis, unexpected results and lots of fighting spirit is worth it.

I also plan to analyze her psyche to determine why she is dominant against her toughest opponents, but teetering in matches where she is so close to winning against lower ranked players.

Congratulations, Sam Stosur, US Open Champion!