First of all – Judos (edit = I meant Kudos) (LOL) to Kim for coming out to play. She outplayed Serena for most of the match. But Serena outplayed her when it counted.
I kind of knew Serena would come out nervous and rattled. IMO – she has not truly been in form at the 2003 OZ. Yet – I never counted her out though. When she was trying to hold to get to 2-5 in the third – I changed the channel before each point. When Kim served for the set up 5-2 – I did the same. When Serena got to game point though – I held my nerve and watched her break Kim to 3-5. When Serena looked as if she was going to hold serve – I didn’t change the channel. When Kim served for the set the second time – I was like – “At least Serena got it to 4-5 and didn’t lose it 2-6.” Yet even then – I felt Serena could break Kim. When Kim dfed twice – I knew then that Serena would break her – and even if she got broken – she could still try to break Kim back to even it at 6-6.
After that – I felt strongly that Serena was on her game then and would win. If one wants to say Kim choked – go ahead. Everyone has the right to ones’ own perception. But - just like many were quick to say Kim had something to do w/Serena level of play when Serena was off her game – the same can be said about Serena affecting Kim’s level in the last several games when Kim was off hers. Serena got in Kim’s head. Kim remembers that US Open match of 1999 – where Serena came back on her. And she remembers the IW match where Serena came back on her and the crowd. She began to play tentative. And IMO – that is exactly the way Serena came out the gates.
Let’s always remember that V&S really respect Kim & Justine’s game. Venus knows of what she speaks – and she spoke about it last year at the Belgium tourney. She spoke on how hot and talented these two players are. Privately – Venus & Serena would have most likely commented on how they have to be on their p’s & q’s when playing those fighters from Belgium. They have never taken the two for granted IMO. And I also felt that they like Kim & Justine more than a few. So – w/all that media hype aside – the Sisters never worry about the crowds – they worry about their opponents.
When it is all said and done – for Kim and Serena - they both should be commended for playing a great semi. Serena had 60+ errors – and no - it wasn’t pretty. Yet – she proved that she is a true trooper, fighter and believer and that is why she prevailed. Regardless about whether folks like the Sisters or their games or not will never negate the fact that these two ladies are true competitors – fighters and formidable foes.
“WAY TO GO – SERENA” “YOU DONE GOOD – KIM – WAY TO GO” “WAY TO GO – JUSTINE” “WAY TO GO – VENUS” “YOU’RE THE 1”
“COME ON – VENUS & SERENA” “GIVE US YOUR BEST EFFORT IN THE FINAL” “CONGRATULATIONS THE SISTERS WILLIAMS”
Sisters remain ahead of the pack
January 24 2003
By Greg Baum
Steve Waugh would fend off questions about the achievements of he and Mark by saying that since they were the first twins to play Test cricket, every match and innings they played, every catch and wicket they took, was necessarily a record.
Serena and Venus Williams (in ranking order) are not twins, but they are as unique in tennis as the Waughs in cricket, and as accomplished, and hit the ball nearly as hard, and are more widely known, and are subject to even more curiosity about family dynamics.
Like the Waughs, they have traded profitably on the happy coincidence of talent and birthright, but on different scales; the Williams are a corporation, the Waughs a cottage industry by comparison.
Unlike the Waughs, the Williams are, by the definition of their game, rivals as well as siblings, who for the fourth successive grand slam must treat each other as deadly foes in tomorrow's final, and will keep the peace in the meantime by talking about their respective semi-finals, not their imminent final. "I don't like to bring my work home," said Serena. "We don't really talk about our jobs in our house." Unlike the Waughs, the Williams are constantly asked not only about how to beat each other, but also about how or if anyone else in the world can beat them. Kim Clijsters said last night that it has become a standing locker room joke and Justine Henin-Hardenne said: "It's always the same question."
Venus and Serena (in chronological order) are in all ways inseparable. Belgians Henin-Hardenne and Clijsters were the latest to try to part them yesterday, but all that split on the day was Clijsters' legs. Venus rushed her media duties to be courtside for what she soon discovered was Serena's hour of need. When that day was saved, they showered, changed dresses, then went to Margaret Court Arena to play a doubles semi-final and soon were high-fiving their way to victory.
But in any family, or corporation, the only constant is change. There has been movement latterly in the Williamscorp. Serena is still ranked No. 1, but has been the lesser player in this tournament, losing 46 games and, gulp, two sets. Venus has lost only 33 games and has not been subjected even to the indignity of a tiebreak.
Venus followed a simple and indestructible strategy yesterday against Henin-Hardenne; she kept the ball away from the Belgian's famous backhand until such time in a point when it could be used only as a defensive ploy.
Venus took just more than an hour and was still bouncing on her toes as she went to the net to shake hands. Thereafter, she resumed her life as a daughter and sister. "It is so exciting," she said. She even kept time and room in her thoughts for a little philanthropy, asking the crowd to remember the bushfire victims and to donate to the fighting fund. Serena had a much more challenging match against Clijsters, who on this day ought to have fulfilled her destiny as the likeliest player to break the Williams' hegemony. Serena served two double faults in a row to lose the first set, whereupon her body language seemed to say: "What's the use". She won the second, but when she fell behind in the third, stopped the match to have treatment on three blisters.
Somehow Clijsters, who held two match points at 5-2 and served in vain for the match again two games later, claimed not to have tightened, but said Serena had raised her game.
Serena's experience told; the faster Clijsters played, the more Serena manoeuvred to slow the game. Serena said she sought to play aggressively, had thought of only one point at a time. "I never think I'm going to lose," she said.
"I just don't want people to think I'm too cocky. It's always something with us Williams sisters: 'They're too cocky'."
She was as relieved as she was pleased at the end. "I've always been a fighter," she said. "It's innate." Serena said she had added fight to Venus' game. "She said she didn't have as much fight before I came out," she said.
Some of the stadium crowd booed, unfairly, for hers was a daring escape. If they disapproved of her gamesmanship in having treatment at a crucial moment, they have selective memories. Neither Venus nor Serena (in chronological order) played as crowd favourites.
So, as ever, Serena and Venus (in ascending order of height) again come to an unavoidable point where they cannot avoid each other. Asked what stood between her and the "Serena slam", Serena replied: "One match, and Venus".