Serena And Venus Bring Out The Big Guns

2010 Wimbledon Championships
By Hiland Doolittle, June 29th, 2010
Venus Williams in her 4th round match at Wimbledon

Venus Williams in her 4th round match at Wimbledon

Australian 23-year old Jarmila Groth came out firing against five-time Wimbledon Champion Venus Williams, but she did not have enough ammunition to take down the graceful Williams. Groth proved she could respond to the moment with a heavy serve and deep ground strokes in the hard fought 6-4, 7-6(5) win for Venus.

The match started amidst controversy as Williams kept the seated crowd and Groth waiting for seven minutes before she appeared to an unhappy crowd. Williams said she had never played on Court Two and that her escort reported late.

Groth seemed unperturbed by the delay and actually may have gained some encouragement from the unhappy crowd. Groth’s flat returns had Williams off balance but when the pressure was on, the number two seed chased down every shot and hit key forehand winners. For Williams, she has now reached the quarterfinals eleven times.

In one of the day’s intriguing pairings, former number one, Maria Sharapova, took on current number one Serena Williams. Sharapova has been working hard to improve her ranking and her game.

Against Williams, Sharapova unleashed some of the best serves she has hit since recovering from her shoulder injury. Both Williams and Sharapova hit hard throughout the match. Points were short and the level of play looked more like a finals than a round of sixteen match. Williams had nineteen aces to secure the 7-6(9), 6-4 win. Despite the loss, Sharapova looks ready to return to form.

When Justine Henin speaks, fans should listen. The Belgian had said on several occasions that she was not yet back to form and that she would probably not win at Wimbledon. The 5’5” scrapper was right.

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In another highly anticipated match, Henin met country mate Kim Clijsters for the 25th time. Entering the match the two were tied at 12-12. The 8th seeded Clijsters survived a 2-6 first set drubbing before rallying for a 6-2, 6-3 triumph.

Henin served brilliantly and returned aggressively in the first set. When Clijsters moved forward into Henin’s serve the pace of the match changed quickly. Clijsters gradually began to break regularly and Henin seemed defenseless. Before Henin gets back to form, she will need to improve her weak second serve, which was further hampered by a strained elbow.

Third seed Caroline Wozniacki could not keep up with hard driving Czech Petra Kvitova. The heavyset blonde blistered Wozniacki’s serve repeatedly on the way to a convincing 6-2, 6-0 victory. Wozniacki, who had not lost a set in the event, had no answers for Petra. The Czech began on the offensive and just kept on hitting winners against the overpowered Dane. Kvitova has now outhit two of the tour’s best young players as she crushed Victoria Azarenka just as efficiently as she mowed down Wozniacki.

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Fourth seed Jalena Jankovic once again came out injured for a big match. The Serb was trailing Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 3-0 when she was forced to retire due to a lower back injury. Zvonareva was clearly in control of the match and just had too much game for Jankovic.

In a minor upset, hard hitting ninth seed Li Na cruised past Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 6-2. Li attacked Aggie’s serve and seemed to have control of the baseline during the match. Radwanska is known for her baseline play but today Li had the better of it.

In a major upset, Tsvetana Pitonkova of Bulgaria outplayed French veteran and number eleven seed Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-4. Bartoli had played well in her first three matches and was considered a heavy favorite. Pironkova used a forceful second serve to hold in key games against Marion.

The longshot of the tournament is qualifier Kaia Kanepi who took out Czech Klara Zakopalova 6-2, 6-4. Kanepi started the tournament with a surprising upset of Samantha Stosur and has been on a ride ever since. Kanepi is no stranger to big-time tennis and she has mounted her comeback by working herself into great shape. Her ability to chase down balls and force players to hit extra shots has paid big dividends for the upset queen.


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