Kvitova ends grass season on fire
LONDON -- If it wasn't evident before the fortnight at the All England Club, it is now: Women's tennis is wide open.
Not only did No. 1 Serena Williams crash out in Wimbledon's third round, she also embarrassed herself -- and sister Venus -- in a surreal scene on the doubles court. Juxtapose that with the soaring success of Petra Kvitova winning her second Wimbledon title in four years, and you have all the elements for the freshest edition of Up or Down?
No. 1 Serena Williams: Oh, boy. This might be a record for the worst week ever by a professional tennis player. Serena lost to Alize Cornet in the third round at Wimbledon, which marked the third straight major in which she has failed to get to the quarterfinals. Then she had that ridiculous four-double-faults episode in doubles that is still reverberating.
No. 2 Li Na: The reigning Australian Open champion has had a rough summer. She went out early at the French Open and in the third round at Wimbledon -- to a player who was 0-for-24 in matches against top 10 players. Time for a reset, which she is already doing after splitting with coach Carlos Rodriguez a few days ago.
No. 3 Simona Halep: A year ago, she was wading through trenches, trying to make an impression. Now, she's a legitimate contender for every major title. She got to the finals at the French and was a semifinalist at Wimbledon.
No. 4 Petra Kvitova: What an astonishingly flawless performance in the Wimbledon final. She dropped only three games to Eugenie Bouchard in 55 minutes -- the worst beatdown in a ladies final at Wimbledon in 22 years. Kvitova is a natural on grass; her Wimbledon record is a sturdy 26-5.
No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska: You would think Wimbledon would be a good venue for Radwanska, who is a counterpuncher. She was a finalist here two years ago but fell to Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-0 in the fourth round this year.
No. 6 Maria Sharapova: Yikes. She was steaming right along, looking to bookend her 2004 title at Wimbldon when she got blindsided by Angelique Kerber in the fourth round. Her boyfriend, Grigor Dimitrov, got further than she did.
No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard: Do the math: With three Grand Slams in the books, she has a record of 16-3 -- the best of any woman. And she's only 20. Last year, she won all of four major matches. The player named for a princess was a darling of the Wimbledon crowds -- this final won't be her last on the big stage.
No. 17 Lucie Safarova: It was a nice tournament for the 27-year-old Czech player, who reached her first major semifinal. She gave Kvitova a scare in a first-set tiebreaker before going quietly in the second. That was a lot closer than Eugenie Bouchard got.