Ahead of this year's women's event at Wimbledon, it was tough to see
how anyone could beat an in-form Maria Sharapova but, in the end, it was Serena Williams who proved to be the real
comeback Queen of Centre Court.
As the fortnight got underway all the talk
was of Maria Sharapova. The Russian 25-year-old had romped to a first Grand
Slam success in four years at Roland Garros, and it seemed like there was
nobody around who would be able to prevent her making it two for two in SW19.
Serena Williams was the second favourite
with the tennis odds makers, but then she's always high up on any odds list,
simply because she's Serena.
Serena had been dumped out of the French
Open in the first round, was defeated in the early stages of the Aussie Open
and, in her last Grand Slam final, had lost to Sam Stosur in New York.
Nonetheless, it was Sharapova and Williams
who led the way with the bookmakers.
Both women progressed comfortably through
the early stages, although it was Sharapova who was displaying the better early form.
Venus Williams was defeated in the first
round, to the disappointment of many, but the other unseeded giant, Kim
Clijsters, opened up by defeating former world no.1 and 19th seed, Jelena
Could Clijsters come back and go all the
way to victory in her final Wimbledon
There weren't a lot of shocks in the
women's draw in the opening week, which meant there was plenty of
mouth-watering action to look forward to in week 2.
Sabine Lisicki had been on another good Wimbledon run but she wasn't expected to cause the shock
of the tournament and defeat Maria Sharapova in the fourth round. That's
exactly what she did, though, and suddenly Serena Williams was the favourite to
add to her Grand Slam haul.
Petra Kvitova, the defending champion, had
been making her way quietly through the draw and she too must have thought it
could once again be her year when Sharapova dropped out.
Kvitova vs. Williams ended up being one of
the most intensely fought battles of the fortnight. It was only a quarter-final
match, but both women fought like everything was at stake. Ultimately, it was
Serena who came through, and suddenly the way seemed clear for a run to the
Kim Clijsters had been defeated in the fourth
round by Angelique Kerber, so Serena was joined in the last four by Azarenka,
Radwanska and Kerber.
Although Victoria Azarenka had enjoyed a 26
match unbeaten start to the season, which included an Aussie Grand Slam title, Serena's power was always likely to win her through in the semi-final.
After that, it was Radwanska in the final.
Radwanska had come into the event as a highly underrated no.3 seed but had
shown some fine shot making and point construction throughout the event.
Many expected Serena to annihilate the
Grand Slam final rookie in the Championship decider, but Radwasnka showed great
spirit to come back from and opening set loss and take the match to a decider.
In the end, it was Serena who turned up the
heat and took a comfortable 6-2 victory in the final set, claiming her 14th
With seven different winners claiming the last
seven Grand Slam events on the women's tour, it'll take a brave person to
predict how things will go in New York come September, but one thing is for
sure, Serena Williams will be a big contender.