January 31, 2010

Steve Flink on Serena

Interesting Fact: "She won her first major at the U.S. Open in 1999, so she has now recorded major tournament victories in three straight decades, a feat matched only by Navratilova among the women."

Peter Bodo - "Live By The Serve"

Check out Peter Bodo's blog "Live By The Serve"

January 30, 2010

Billie Jean King on Serena

“She could have been the greatest ever (record wise) and I still think that when she plays her best, that she is the best ever. She's smarter, and has the power and the speed. But what I really appreciate is how much she's grown up. She's so much better now at recognizing the other players now.”

Carlos Rodriguez on Justine / Serena

Carlos Rodriguez (Henin's coach) was proud of Henin after Saturday's loss to Serena Williams in the Australian Open

"I think we can see on the court today she's not ready to beat somebody like Serena,'' Rodriguez said. "Maybe in three or four or six months, I don't know, (she needs) more matches. Emotional situation like tonight, maybe she's going to be ready then.''

Rodriguez started guiding Henin's career in 1995 and has been instrumental during her comeback. He said Henin, who lost to Williams in three sets, would now take a break to work on improving her game. "(We're) disappointed because we always try to win,'' he said. "But I think the best player won today. That's the first thing to say, she's better than Justine. Now for me and Justine we try to find out how we going to do better in the next match or in the next month.

"We're going to stop now and work on the physical skills and more specific things in her game. "Maybe take a little bit more time to find a way to manage different situations also. Not only a question of technique, try to manage this emotions and the tactics to serve. I cannot say better for sure but (we need to improve) the serve and important points.''

Henin should return to the top 40 now and Rodriguez is hopeful she may sneak in for a seeding at the French Open. She has only played two tournaments so far, the other being Brisbane where she was also a finalist. "You never know, still two or three tournaments to go before they put ranking up there,'' Rodriguez said. "Even in claycourts I prefer she's seeded if we do the right job.

- Article courtesy of Jackie Epstein, Herald Sun, Melbourne

Congratulations Serena on winning Aussie Open

Justine on Serena....

“....I have a lot of respect for who she is, what she did,” Henin said. “She is a real champion. She proved it again in this tournament. Has been in trouble, and she had the reaction of the greatest champions. A real fighter. Never gives up. And I think she really helped the game to come at another level and she really helped women's tennis a lot. She's still there with an amazing attitude."

Serena ties Billie Jean King's 12 Grand Slam Titles

Serena speaks with Chris Fowler / ESPN (video)

SERENA - 2010 Australian Open Champion

12 Grand Slam Titles - 5 Australian Open Titles

12 Grand Slam Titles

(5) Australian Open
(1) French Open
(3) Wimbledon
(3) U.S. Open

Sisterly Love

Serena gets a hug from big sister Venus after defeating Justine Henin 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 for her record setting 5th Australian Open title. Serena also paired with Venus to win the Australian Open doubles title over #1 ranked Liezel Huber and Cara Black.

2010 Australian Open Champion

Serena defeats Justine for Australian Open Title

Serena extended her impressive run in Grand Slam finals, with the 6-4 3-6 6-2 win over Justine Henin at the Australian Open, marking her 12th victory in 15 Slam deciders Serena put an end to Justine Henin's hopes of a Grand Slam title on her return from retirement. Williams withstood a determined challenge from Henin before securing her fifth Australian Open title and 12th Grand Slam singles championship.

Williams won the last four games Saturday to clinch the championship in just over two hours, falling on her back in celebration after match point before shaking hands with Henin at the net.

It’s the fifth singles title for Serena at the Australian Open (the most by a woman in the open era, followed by Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles with 4 each). Williams adds number 5 to her tournament wins in 2003, 2005, 2007 and last year. This is also the third time that Williams has won both singles and doubles titles at Melbourne (2003, 2009, 2010). She hit 32 winners and 12 aces and broke serve 6 times. This win also marks the 1st time that Serena has defended her Australian Open title (and the first to do so since Jennifer Capriati in 2002).

Justine Henin - "It's been a very emotional two weeks for me,'' said Henin, who put her hand on her heart as she thanked the crowd for support. "I thought it would never happen to me again. I'd like to congratulate Serena. She's a real champion.''

Williams had her right thigh, wrist and left knee heavily taped as they had been for much of the tournament. Serena holds an 8-6 lead in career meetings over Henin, including their last meeting, a 6-2, 6-0 win in Miami in 2008. At the time, it equaled the worst loss for a reigning No. 1, and Henin quit tennis two months later. Williams' 12th singles major matched American great Billie Jean King's career total. King was in attendance and took part in a pre-match ceremony to honor the 40-year anniversary of Margaret Court's four Grand Slam tournament wins in 1970.

January 29, 2010

Australian Open: FINAL (Saturday)

[1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. Justine Henin (BEL)
Serena leads Head-to-Head 7-6
3rd Match of the Day
Rod Laver Arena
Match airs LIVE on ESPN2 @ 3:30am

Williams Sisters win Australian Open Doubles Title

MELBOURNE, Australia — Venus and Serena Williams won their fourth Australian Open women's doubles title, beating Cara Black and Liezel Huber 6-4, 6-3. The Williams broke Huber's serve to open the second set Friday and won the match when they again broke Huber, ending it on Serena's winning reflex volley. The sisters high-fived each other at the side of the court after the match.

The Williams sisters won the Australian title for the first time in 2001 and added championships in 2003 and last year. Black, from Zimbabwe, and Huber, a South African-born American citizen, won the 2007 title.

"I have to congratulate Venus and Serena for a great tournament – you guys are too good," Black said. It was the 11th time the Williams sisters have combined for a Grand Slam doubles title. Serena has 11 singles majors, also, and is hoping for a 12th in the Australian Open final on Saturday against Justine Henin.

"I look forward to more titles," Serena Williams said. The Williams sisters broke to go up 4-3. Serena Williams faced two break points on her serve in the next game before she held. With Venus Williams serving for the set, the sisters took the opener when Black netted a forehand on a second set point.

January 28, 2010

Australian Open Doubles: FINAL (Friday)

Venus / Serena (USA)[2] vs. Cara Black (ZIM) / Liezel Huber (USA)[1]
1st Match of the Day
Rod Laver Arena

Team Williams advances to Doubles Final

It will be a repeat of the 2009 US Open women’s doubles final at Australian Open 2010, as both of the top seeded teams of Cara Black/Liezel Huber and Serena Williams/Venus Williams posted semi-final wins on Thursday. The Williams sisters, the second seeds, overcame American Lisa Raymond and Australian Rennae Stubbs 6-3 7-6(6).

The Williams sisters survived a fast-finishing Raymond/Stubbs duo, who forced the No. 2 seeds to a second set tie-break. The American siblings won the first set as they settled in the gusty conditions quicker than the American/Australian pair. The city end of the court was particularly hard to serve at because of a steady wind, and Stubbs was the first to falter, giving away a break and eventually the first set 6-3.

At one point in the second set, Raymond appeared to have the ball on a string with a series of shots that single-handedly confused and dismantled the Williams’ game, finishing with a volley that split them in two. With Stubbs also playing well, the pair held set points late in the set. The No.6 seeds failed to convert though, and the Williams sisters won the second set in a tie break 8-6, earning them the right to defend their Melbourne Park 2009 doubles title.

For Serena, it is the second year in a row she has made it through to the singles and doubles final at the Australian Open, and she will use the doubles final to get focused for another tilt at the individual crown. “I think [doubles] helped me. You know, I get a lot of extra practice, so ... I think I spent a lot of time on the court. I like being out there,” Serena said.

- Article courtesy of Official Australian Open website

Serena advances to Australian Open Final

Serena Williams advanced to a fifth Australian Open final and ended any chance of an all-Chinese championship match in the season's first major.

Defending champion Williams wasted four match points before finishing off a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (1) semifinal win with an ace against Li Na on Thursday, a day after her sister Venus lost to the Chinese player in the quarterfinals. Serena Williams has a 100 percent conversion rate so far in finals at Melbourne Park, winning the title every time she's played for the championship since beating Venus here in 2003. The winning sequence has been every odd-numbered year so far.

"I had so many match points and I blew it and I knew I couldn't mess up my serve because she never gives up," Williams said. "She's a real, real amazing fighter." Williams broke Li's service in the opening game and maintained the break until the 10th game. Li fended off a set point in the ninth game before holding and then broke Williams' serve in the 10th game to even the match at 5-5.

In the tiebreak, Williams picked up four of her last five points on unforced errors by Li and then clinched the 58-minute set with a second-service ace. The second set went with serve, with Li fending off three match points in the 10th game and another in the 12th to force a second tiebreak. Again, Williams dominated the tiebreak to race to a 6-1 lead, closing with her 12th ace of the match. Serena will face Justine Henin in the final.

January 27, 2010

Australian Open Doubles: Semifinal (Thursday)

Venus / Serena (USA)[2] vs. Lisa Raymond / Rennae Stubbs [6]
4th Match of the Day
Margaret Court Arena

Australian Open: Semifinal (Thursday)

[1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [16] Na Li (CHN)
Serena leads Head-to-Head 3-1
2nd Match of the Day
Rod Laver Arena

Comeback Queen: Serena defeats Azarenka!

Defending champion Serena Williams staged another classic comeback in defeating Victoria Azarenka in quarterfinal action at the Australian Open. Serena Williams lost the first set and was down two breaks of serve against Azarenka until she rallied to win five straight games to get herself back on track for a 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 win.

``I'm surprised. I didn't expect to win when I was down 0-4. I was like, 'Oh well, at least I'm still in doubles,''' said Williams, who admitted she'd even started thinking about the trip home. ``I was actually thinking - it wasn't a champion's thought - if I lose today and I don't win in doubles, I guess I can catch a flight on Friday. ``That's not what you're supposed to think but that's what I was thinking.''

Azarenka wilted in their quarterfinal here last year, retiring in the second set with a virus after taking the first set off Serena Williams. This time, the 20-year-old Belorussian was undone by a trademark comeback from Williams, who is the only player to save match points on the way to three Grand Slam titles. She did it at Wimbledon last year and at the 2003 and 2005 Australian Opens.

The 11-time Grand Slam champion has rallied when the odds are seemingly stacked against her, which has helped Williams win the Australian title each odd-numbered year since beating sister Venus in the 2003 final. Serena's semifinal opponent will be Na Li of China who defeated Venus Williams in three sets earlier in the day. Azarenka looked as if she'd continue the Williams family woes. She broke the four-time Australian Open champion Serena in the opening game and then, after fending off three break points, held her own opening serve in a game that lasted more than 15 minutes and went to deuce nine times. (Up until this match, Serena had not dropped served throughout the first four rounds).

While trailing 6-4, 4-0, Serena received a FedEx package (which included her serve and her game) and it could not have come at a better time. From that point on, Serena started her comeback - winning five straight games and then getting on top again at the end of the tiebreaker. Williams dominated the third set, converting both her breakpoint chances. Serena hit 57 winners to Azarenka's 22, served 17 aces to Azarenka's one. Victoria Azarenka committed 24 unforced errors to Serena's 38. Serena may be down but NEVER out! She keeps proving herself (match and mental toughness) time and time again. All hail the QUEEN! You will believe! (lol)

January 26, 2010

Williams Sisters advance to Doubles Semifinals

Venus and Serena Williams defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Zi Yan 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in Quarterfinal action at the Australian Open. The Williams Sisters advance to the semifinals to take on sixth-seeded Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs.

January 25, 2010

Australian Open: Quarterfinal (Wednesday)

[1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [7] Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
Serena leads Head-to-Head 3-1
2nd Match of the Day
Rod Laver Arena

Australian Open Doubles: Quarterfinal (Tuesday)

Venus / Serena (USA)[2] vs Bethanie Sands(USA) / Zi Yan (CHN)[8]
3rd Match of the Day
Margaret Court Arena

2010 Australian Open (Impressive) Stat

Through the 1st four rounds of the 2010 Australian Open, Serena is the only person (male or female) to not drop serve! Her serve has not been broken. Wow!

Side note: By winning her fourth round match, Serena is guaranteed to maintain the #1 ranking after the Australian Open.

Serena Slams Sam!

World No.1 Serena Williams brought her game face to clinically end Samantha Stosur's Australian Open campaign on Monday with a straight-sets fourth-round win at Rod Laver Arena. Williams broke Stosur three times to notch a comfortable 6-4 6-2 victory in just 65 minutes to storm into the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park for the seventh time in 11 visits.

The four-time Open champ next meets either Belarussian seventh seed Victoria Azarenka or Russian ninth seed Vera Zvonareva on Wednesday for a place in the last four of the season's first grand slam event. Stosur, 25, had conquered Williams in their most recent meeting, in the quarter-finals in Stanford last July, but was no match for the American superstar this time around.

In a dominant serving display, Serena finished with 10 aces and one double fault. Serena collected 86% of her points (25 of 29) on her first serves and 81% of her second serves (13 of 16). Serena's ratio of winners to unforced errors was 42:14. She won 12 of 13 net approaches and converted 3 of 4 break point opportunities. Williams struck a lunging forehand winner to grab the decisive first-set break in the fifth game and then nailed a backhand down the line to pocket the opening set in 32 minutes.

The 11-times major champion then broke Stosur in the very first game of the second set with another backhand winner down the line. Stosur's only look-in of the match came in the second game of the second set, but Williams ruthlessly fended off the first three break points she'd faced all tournament with three booming serves. The American eventually held for a 2-0 lead with a big ace down the middle, and then seized a double break for a 5-2 advantage and it was lights out for Stosur. Pam Shriver said "Nobody can beat Serena when she plays like that, nobody!"

I do not know where to begin. THE SERVE, THE ACCURACY, THE MOVEMENT, THE POWER, THE DETERMINATION! Serena was on FIRE! I said it before, she is playing some "scary" good tennis! This may not have been the "match of the tournament" but it definitely takes the crown for FEMALE PERFORMANCE of the tournament (thus far). Impressive, mighty impressive! Serena is on a mission and it would be best (and safer) if all "pretenders" move out of her way. She's focused and aiming for another Australian Open title (and her 12th major title).

January 24, 2010

Australian Open: 4th Round (Monday)

4th Round
[1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [13] Samantha Stosur (AUS)
Serena leads Head-to-Head 2-1
3rd Match of the Day
Rod Laver Arena

Team Williams advances to Quarterfinals

Venus and Serena Williams defeated Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 6-3, 6-2 in 3rd round action at the Australian Open.

January 23, 2010

Australian Open Doubles: 3rd Round (Sunday)

3rd Round
Venus / Serena [2] (USA) vs.A. Hlavackova / L. Hradecka (CZE)
2nd Match of the Day
Margaret Court Arena

January 22, 2010

Serena Sizzles! Advances to 4th Round

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -Defending champion Serena Williams has won her third-round match at the Australian Open, beating Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-0, 6-3.

The top-seeded Williams, who beat Dinara Safina in last year's final, emerged from a marathon final game in Saturday's opening set, facing five break points and 13 deuces before winning on her eighth set point. The final game lasted nearly 20 minutes - longer than the five previous games combined in the 37-minute set. Williams closed out the match in 1 hour, 21 minutes and will face Sam Stosur of Australia in the fourth round.

I have never seen Serena so dialed in during the 1st week of a Grand Slam tournament. This 3rd Round match was "scary" good! She moved extremely well and tracked down everything.

Serena: Defining "Victory" (video)

Australian Open: 3rd Round (Saturday)

3rd Round
[1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) [32]
1st Career Meeting
2nd Match of the Day
Hisense Arena

Team Williams continues to roll at Australian Open

The Williams Sisters defeated Ioana Raluca Olaru (ROU) and Olga Savchuk (UKR) 6-1, 6-2 in 2nd Round action at the Australian Open. Venus and Serena are playing some impressive tennis.

A Royal Visit: A Prince meets a Queen

Prince William takes a moment to pose with Oracene Price and Serena Williams at the Australian Open.

January 21, 2010

Australian Open Doubles: 2nd Round (Friday)

2nd Round
Venus / Serena [2] (USA) vs. Ioana Olaru / Olga Savchuk (UKR)
3rd Match of the Day
Show Court 2

Serena sails into 3rd Round at Australian Open

Defending champion Serena Williams looked simply superb in her 2nd round thrashing of Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-1, in a match that lasted 67 minutes. Serena served at 66% for the match and won 91% of her 1st serves. She also threw in 8 aces and 2 double faults. The only "spot" on this match wasn't the play but the relentless commentary about the US Open incident. Serena played some flawless tennis and appears to be extremely fit. Keep up the good work Serena! Her 3rd round opponent will be Carla Suarez Navarro.

January 20, 2010

Australian Open: 2nd Round (Thursday)

2nd Round
[1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. Petra Kvitova (CZE)
1st Career Meeting
3rd Match of the Day
Hisense Arena