Tenaciously Tennis

Williams Sisters Secure Wins Easily; Serbians Suffer in the Sun

Photo Credit: Lionel Cironneau/AP
Serena Williams and Venus Williams handily fended off two difficult second round opponents to advance. Serena looked particularly sharp against the powerful 20-year-old, Petra Kvitova, while Venus dispatched the mother, Sybille Bammer after a tough test in the second set.

The results are telling of what’s to come in the tournament’s future for the sisters. Serena’s intensity certainly is not the question. When is it ever? Then again, Venus, who was impressive in the first set against Bammer lost concentration as she so often does. This focus issue does not bode well in the second week of a Slam, especially one in which heat and fitness are key to winning.

That said, I’m sticking by my guns and predicting that Serena keeps her composure into the finals. However, it does not look like a sister semifinal will occur. Venus can get through the next round against Australia’s Casey Dellacqua, who’s been having a nice repeat of her 2008 Sunny Slam success, along with a probably fourth round match against the tenth-seeded lightweight, Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. Venus leads their head-to-head 4-1, including a 6-1, 6-2 win over the tricky counter puncher in the quarterfinals of the 2009 Wimbledon Championships. The run will most probably end at the racquet of Caroline Wozniacki, the recent US Open finalist, whose focused is almost always assured. Wozniacki is ready to shine under the big stage, and prove to the tennis world that she’s confident enough to snap her four straight defeats at the hands of Venus, all of which ended in two sets.

Now for news on the Serbians. There were big hopes for Ana Ivanovic coming into this Slam, while Jelena Jankovic continued to fly under the radar. Both former number ones failed, continuing their streaky success after topping the ranking charts. Ivanovic bowed out in an epic 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-4 loss to Gisela Dulko in the second round, and her compatriot’s run came to a close in the third round against the Ukranian Alyona Bondarenko, 6-2, 6-3.

In terms of the Australian Open, Ivanovic’s loss opens the draw up nicely for Victoria Azarenka, securing an anticipated quarterfinal match against Serena. In Jankovic’s quarter, meanwhile, the surprise Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli might have the potential to make some noise. Dinara Safina and Maria Sharapova’s slayer, Maria Kirilenko, loom in the background in the bottom of the draw, too.

The question is: Can the Serbs get back to a competitive level at the Slams? While I don’t see either hoisting up a trophy, especially in the next three events, there’s a long year ahead of the two for better or for worse.

Noteworthy News Links:

“Ivanovic out; Williamses, Djokovic win in Melbourne” by the Associated Press

“No big deal, says Jankovic after Aussie Open loss” by Agence France-Presse

“Ivanovic flops out of Open” by Agence France-Presse


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