Friday, July 01, 2005

Venus back in orbit

Venus Williams' victory over Maria Sharapova brought back some good memories of the tennis games, that I used to follow rather rabidly in my "younger days". I have been following sport more out of ennui these days rather than the spirit and enthusiasm early in my undergrad and work career.

Its been a while since I saw Venus Williams do this good in a major Grand Slam game. Venus Williams probably decided that this is going to be her time. After all, she has never beaten a Top 5 player in 2 years and no one expected to stretch Sharapova, the incumbent champion and the player in outstanding form. Consider this, Sharapova hadn't been broken in a single game the whole tournament and had hardly made more than 14 unforced errors in a match. Besides this, she was enjoying the brunt of media attention for her golden shoes, gold-laden attire and golden attitude. Venus on the other hand, was never in the picture in any pre-tournament favorite list. Whoever expected Venus to strangle Sharapova at her own game!.

Yesterday though, Venus was Venus-1999/2000 personified. Running from edge to edge while releasing passing shots of extreme power, top spin and angle, playing some searing backhand "drives", rushing to the net whenever possible and putting the volley away with elan, serving at more than 105mph consistently, Venus brought back her pre 2003 status alive in this match.

On the other hand Sharapova was dominating herself at evanescent moments and never gave up, except for a while in the second set, when she got into unforced-error territory.

The Davenport-Mauresmo game was equally fascinating with enthralling tennis all the way. Mauresmo is probably the only woman player with a serve and volley game these days and she is a throwback to the Jana Novotna days. What she lacks is a killer instinct though, wherein she had a chance to strangle Davenport in the second set, but could never do it. The third set was hanging in the balance with Davenport leading 5-3, while Mauresmo was serving and the rain intervened. By the looks of it, it's going to be a Davenport-Venus final, something that takes you back 3-4 years in the tennis circuit. It should be fun and I suspect Venus is going to win this Wimbledon. If she does, it would be akin to the Goran Ivanisevic victory over Pat Rafter.

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