January 31, 2009

Lucky Number 10

It didn't even take an hour for Serena Williams to dispatch Dinara Safina at the finals of this year's Australian Open -- but the victory was worth a lot.

By getting to the championship match, she became the highest-earning women's athlete of all time -- more than $23 million in prize money during her career. With the win she regained her #1 ranking and took her tenth Grand Slam title -- just four women have more major trophies.

The match was, admittedly, a letdown after yesterday's marathon men's semifinal. Safina was completely outmatched in her second Slam final -- it was only during her first service game I even thought she had a chance to keep things close. She held serve only twice and won just seven points on Serena's serve. Williams on the other hand won 95% of her first serves and didn't commit one double fault.

Serena actually faced bigger challenges earlier in the draw. She struggled in the second round against Gisela Dulko, giving herself a "D-" grade for her performance, and dropped sets to both Victoria Azarenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova. Had the heat not taken its toll on Azarenka, Serena might not have made it past the fourth round. Part of me wishes I'd watched one of those games in the final.

Dinara, with her performance in Melbourne, will climb to a career high #2 ranking on Monday, but I'm sure she wishes she'd put on a performance more worthy of that position on Saturday. But she'll be back, I hope -- she doesn't seem like one to collapse after a disappointing loss.

In the meantime the folks Down Under are getting ready for the highly-anticipated men's final tomorrow. It will be the first time Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have met in Australia -- or in any hardcourt Grand Slam, for that matter. I'm willing to bet Serena's prize money that we'll be watching for longer than an hour.

See you tomorrow!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sort of after the fact since the men's final has just finished. I'm glad they put on a show that was worthy of being the colonial stepchild of the Wimbledon final.

Hopefully I'll get tix to Wimbledon again this year.