Monday, September 8, 2008

US Open Women's Final

(4) Serena Williams def. (2) Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 7-5

Definitely the match of the tournament on the women’s side for me even considering the Serena/Venus quarter. They had some INCREDIBLE points and games where there were at least 4 deuces and lots of momentum swings. Their contrasting styles really made it a fantastic match with Jankovic a counterpuncher who runs everything down and Williams a power player with an extremely aggressive game.

Jelena never fails in the drama department when she plays and today’s match was no exception where she fought frequently from 0-40 or 40-0 down to push games to multiple deuces. She also showed her diva side by putting sparkles in her hair and wearing makeup onto court. Serena also had her share of accessories as she marched on in her self designed Nike outfit and her classic earrings. Not long after the match started, Serena already knocked one of her earrings off after hitting a backhand winner. This didn’t seem to hinder her performance as she managed to strike 44 winners in total past Jankovic today.

About the match, I first thought that Jankovic would be majorly overwhelmed by Serena today as it was her first grand slam final and she would be nervous. Instead, she gave Williams a big run for her money in the first set when she broke Williams at love and led 40-0 on her serve before Serena came roaring back with 4 games in a row. Jankovic wasn’t finished yet as she broke back to 4-5 before finally surrendering her serve one last time for Serena to take the first set. Serena picked up her game and was getting leads in pretty much all the games in the 2nd set but Jankovic kept running down shots and forcing errors which visibly frustrated Williams. Serena surprisingly surrendered her serve at 3-all and it seemed poised for the final to go into a 3rd set when Williams was down 0-40 on her serve at 3-5. From there, Serena took control and rolled off 4 straight games while saving another set point along the way to win the set and the championship as well as claim the #1 ranking.

I think Jankovic has a lot to be proud of this tournament as she finally broke the grand slam semifinal duck and made her first final and played in my opinion one of the best matches of her life in the final. Jankovic has been knocked by many for not doing enough with the ball and just waiting for opponent’s errors, but in the final, she went after her forehand (normally a weakness) and took her chances and went for more shots than she normally would be comfortable with. If she keeps up this play, she could definitely make another slam final and possibly win one in the near future. And as for Serena, it’s great to see that all her hard work finally paid off in a slam win. Unlike previous years, Williams has played for much of this year and has not had to take a long break off due to injuries. She has stayed fit (something she had trouble with in previous years) and has greatly improved her footwork and consistency. So all in all, both have great memories from this tournament to take back home with them as they prepare for the upcoming indoor season and we can look forward to them playing well in the European stretch and the YEC in November.

- Written by Vivian H. (Our first guest writer!)