Serena Williams maintains her focus
WIMBLEDON, England -- Just for fun, it seemed, and, well, so she could get on with it Thursday, Serena Williams uncorked a 123-mph serve against Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia late in the second set of their second-round match at Wimbledon.
Garcia wisely got out of the way, and Williams restored some sense of order with a 6-3, 6-2 victory after a day of carnage Wednesday in which seven men's and women's players either did not start or finish their matches because of injury, and the eighth former No. 1 exited the tournament.
Expressing shock at the "weird" turn of events that took out No. 2 seed Victoria Azarenka and No. 3 Maria Sharapova, as well as defending champ and seven-time Wimbledon winner Roger Federer losing to the 116th-ranked player in the world, Williams admitted she was well aware the same thing could happen to her.
"Yeah, the first thing I do is I'm like, 'OK, Serena, stay focused,'" she said. "This happened before. I don't know when. I want to say it was at the U.S. Open, though. A lot of players were losing. I thought, [I] definitely want to stay focused and stay serious.
"So that's what I did again yesterday. I was like, 'OK, be on your toes and be ready for anything.'"
Garcia, a qualifier ranked 100th in the world, had her moments but never had a break point against the defending champ and five-time Wimbledon winner, succumbing in one hour, seven minutes.
Williams, who hovered around the mere mortal 110 mph range on her serve for most of the match, had nine aces and won 86 percent of her first-service points, calmly winning her 33rd straight match. That is still well short of Martina Navratilova's 74 straight in 1984, but just four shy (if she makes the semifinals here) of passing sister Venus for the longest streak of the millennium.
If that happens, it would also be the best since Monica Seles' 36-match streak was broken in 1990 and Chris Evert's was snapped in '76.
So routine does Williams' march to the final appear at this point -- her next opponent is 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm -- that talk turned after Thursday's match to Andy Murray recently challenging her to a showdown in Las Vegas, and how the 21-year-old Serena Williams would fare against this 31-year-old version.
Against Murray, she laughed, she prefers clay court and thinks she can get a game off the No. 2-ranked player in the world. And against a younger version of herself?
"I think either way it would be a super, super-tough match," she said. "I wouldn't want to play me at 21 or 31."