The Reuters global sports blog
The Williams sisters found the going tough and their so far impressive comebacks hit the buffers, while women’s number one Caroline Wozniacki’s route to a first grand slam title also came unstuck, but in the men’s draw there were no real dramas as the top four all hit their straps and made the quarters.
All eyes will be on team Nadal on Tuesday, after the world number one injured his foot during his epic win over Juan Martin Del Potro, especially British ones as the Spaniard could face home hope Andy Murray in the last four.
First up on Tuesday however are the women’s quarter-finals, and 2004 winner Maria Sharapova is the favourite to clinch her fourth grand slam crown, though among the other seven women in contention lurks German Sabine Lisicki, seeking to become the first wildcard to win the women’s title.
For most players the idea of returning from a year out with injury and illness a week before Wimbledon and then defending your title would be impossible.
But, then again, Serena Williams in not any old player.
The 29-year-old American, the dominant force in women’s tennis for a decade, has taken a wildcard for next week’s Eastbourne grasscourt tournament and then will head to the All England Club, not just for appearances, but to win a fifth title there and draw level with older sister Venus who is also returning from a six-month lay-off.
Italy clinched their second Fed Cup final with a 4-0 victory over the United States on Sunday.
The U.S. were hampered by Serena and Venus Williams opting not to compete. But as Mark Meadows discusses above, would it be better for America if the pair definitively ended their Fed Cup careers?
Venus Williams must wish Kim Clijsters had stayed retired and enjoyed a relaxing life as a millionaire mum.
The Belgian returned to grand slam action for the first time in 31 months and has left each and every one of her opponents at the U.S. Open embarrassed.
It has been a tale of two draws at the U.S. Open, with the men’s seeds advancing full steam ahead and the women’s field in disarray.
Eight of the top 16 women’s seeds have been given the boot at Flushing Meadows, while all 16 men have strolled forward — the first time men’s seeds have marched in lock step into the third round of a grand slam.
Now is not a good time to compare the men’s game with the women’s and the question of value for money, both for the people who hand out the prize money and for those who buy the tickets, has come up again.
Three of the four women semi-finalists have yet to drop a set and three of the four quarter-finals — Dinara being the exception — together lasted less time than the fourth round battle between Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka under the new roof.
The trouble with a match as riveting as Andy Murray’s against Stanislas Wawrinka is that it’s very hard to find something good enough to follow it … and women’s quarter-final day at Wimbledon was singularly unable to do so.
From the sublime tennis provided by the British number one and the Swiss number two in an historic match under the new Centre Court roof, we went to a 6-1 6-2 victory for Venus Williams over Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska that was ridiculously easy.
It’s beyond me how anyone can deride women’s tennis as being dull. The relentless changing of the guard at the top of the world rankings and the general air of a free-for-all that the grand slams are cited as weak points in the game, when the sheer unpredictability of women’s tennis (compared to the men’s game) is precisely the reason it should be celebrated.
What many of the critics are really bemoaning, I suspect, is that Maria Sharapova didn’t go on to become the women’s Roger Federer. And while you couldn’t help be enthralled by her Wimbledon match against Gisela Dulko of Argentina on Wednesday, the Russian’s nailbiting defeat beneath the sunshine on centre-court is only going to bring more tut-tuts about the state of the game.
The WTA tournament in Dubai has been a big talking point this week, after Israeli player Shahar Peer was denied a visa by the UAE and was forced to pull out (click here for Pritha Sarkar’s blog on the issue) and Sports Pictures Editor Greg Bos has chosen a frame from the tournament as his picture of the day. Over to Greg:
I like this tennis picture taken by Jumana El Heloueh in Dubai for its shape and simplicity. It’s a nice action moment – albeit without the ball – shot from a high angle with a nice clean background and lots of space to one side.