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... for the media, anyway. I was hoping for a Davenport-Mauresmo final, myself. All four semifinalists had wonderful background stories, when you think about it: Amelie going for that elusive first Slam win, Serena trying to re-establish her championship form, Davenport looking for one more Slam so she can retire on a high note, and Sharapova setting out to prove this breakthrough is only the beginning.

I'm hoping Maria (the most promising candidate for future WTA star) will give Serena (the reigning star) some challenge, but I'd like for Serena to win... though since my faves are out, my support is mainly because Serena's a fellow American ;) . Obviously, I was very wrong about Maria, in that you can win without a plan B, at least when you're on fire like she's been (and it helps playing against a mover like Lindsay). I still think she's too one-dimensional to beat Serena, however. Rallies will favor Serena due to better movement and variety/control of shots (Serena = an Ai-Davenport hybrid, from Maria's perspective). But that's the thing with grass - first-strike tennis is rewarded, and Maria has shown she's pretty damn good at it. So though I'd give Serena the big advantage in point construction, that isn't always as much of a factor on grass.

Serena's serve is the best in the WTA, so that will be another advantage for her. I think Serena struggles more with 'crafty' players who can mix things up and change up the pace as well as hit winners... overpowering is not a strategy that will usually work against Serena. Then again, I thought Zvonareva's game would be tougher for Lindsay than Sharapova's (I know, I know :eek: :tape: ). Regardless, there's no way Serena will be underestimating Sharapova's abilities - I'll say Serena wins 6-3, 7-5.

A few questions: Does anybody else think if Linds had won her SF and at least put up a challenge in the final, she wouldn't be quite so quick to talk about retirement? It just seems to me like ever since she came back in 2002, she has progressively lost belief in her ability to stay in matches when things aren't going her way. In third sets, if she gets down in the beginning, she seems to be as good as done :sad:. She's in the best shape of her career, and she was perfectly able to pull out 3-setters before 02, so it seems like it's all mental for Lindsay these days. And I know a lot of people blame the rain delay for killing her momentum in this match (which is probably true), but that's no excuse for a 6-1 third set after such a well-contested second set.

Next: Will Amelie ever win a Slam? She's given some good performances before, falling just short to Venus in the 02 USO SF and Serena at this tourney. But she's also gone down meekly, 03 RG QF to Serena, 03 USO QF to Kim, etc. I thought all three slams this year were tremendous opportunities - but at AO she was injured, RG may never happen for her due solely to nerves, and here she ran into back problems and a determined Serena. I hope she (and Kim, for that matter) can put it all together soon, because she is way too talented to let her head stop her from getting a Slam.

Lastly: Can someone tell me what Maria's favorite surface is, according to her and results-wise? I think it obviously would be grass, but I thought I'd check anyway. She deserves so much respect for fighting through some tough matches at this tournament. I totally didn't count on how much willpower this girl has. And with this huge SF win, she's gotten her first top 5 scalp and looks ready to make a serious move. But how will she do on hardcourts? I'd say I expect a fair amount of QF showings in the tier II and higher tourneys, with one or two SF or F appearances, though I wouldn't be surprised if her results are very up-and-down. Esp. with Kim & maybe Justine ( :confused: ) out, she's likely going to have some big chances with her draws this summer, but can she keep up her consistency? And if her ground game is off, how will she change up her game to win matches on hardcourts?

Congratulations to the four semifinalists for two awesome matches, and good luck to Serena and Maria in the finals... Make it a good one! :D
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