Serena Williams back in a groove
With doubts lingering after Wimbledon, world No. 1 has found winning ways
Serena Wins Third Bank Of The West Classic
So it turns out Serena Williams can still play tennis. And though we already knew this, her recent saga in London stole the spotlight for a few weeks.
The world No. 1 apparently has her game back together, but not everyone on the WTA Tour can say the same.
A look at the trajectory they're on heading into Montreal.
No. 1 Serena Williams: Wait, what happened at Wimbledon again? A rhetorical question, of course, but the world No. 1 let her racket dictate the narrative this past week in Stanford with a run to the title. She found herself down 5-1 in the opening set against Angelique Kerber, but Williams' fighting instincts kicked in and she won the final in straights. The bigger question now is how her mental stamina will hold up moving forward with Montreal and Cincinnati on her schedule before the two-week grind of the US Open begins. Plus, she'll be inundated with more Wimbledon questions throughout the summer, which could ultimately put her in a sour mood.
No. 2 Li Na: Hard to imagine Li started this season as the hottest player on tour. An Aussie Open champ, all was well in her world. Then it fell apart -- and quickly: Out in the first round of the French Open, the third of Wimbledon and now, Li won't compete at all this summer, pulling out of Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open with a knee injury. Oh, and to make matters worse, her coach, Carlos Rodriguez, ended their two-year partnership.
No. 3 Simona Halep: Perhaps the prototypical modern-day player, at least for someone her size. Halep can play defense with the best of them, turn on the offense when she needs to and just all-around compete with every player on tour. Halep followed her French Open runner-up performance with a semifinal run at Wimbledon and, naturally, played and won Bucharest right after a stout Euro Slam run. Good on her.
No. 4 Petra Kvitova: The only thing we can hope for at this point is for Kvitova to handle the pressure of being a Slam champ with a little more aplomb. In 2011, expectations soared after the hard-hitting southpaw won Wimbledon, but she admitted the pressure was too much. A coy, understated Czech, things have started slowly for Kvitova this time around too, after she withdrew from Stanford with a hamstring injury.
No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska: Things seemed to be shaping up for Radwanska so nicely at the All England Club, then Ekaterina Makarova happened. The Russian clobbered Radwanska on Manic Monday, and thus another Slam came and went for a player who once seemed destined to win a major or two. The summer swing didn't start off too well for her either, with American Varvara Lepchenko taking down Radwanska in her second round of Stanford.
No. 6 Maria Sharapova: A new pop-up shop on Wimbledon's High Street, Sugarpova was clearly a hot spot a few weeks ago. Perhaps a modicum of compensation for Sharapova, who dropped a three-setter to Kerber in the fourth round of Wimbledon. Sharapova, though, was coming off an unexpected title at the French Open, and the reality is winning consecutive majors on diametrically opposite surfaces with little prep time is a tough ask.
No. 8 Eugenie Bouchard: So this is where things become fun. The game's latest glamour girl returns home -- but this time with hordes of prying media vetting her every move. But if there's one thing Bouchard has shown us, she kind of enjoys the attention. Some might say she actually thrives when eyeballs are on her. Bouchard is playing the best tennis of her young life, just weeks removed from a voyage to the Wimbledon final. Some might say this is only the beginning.
No. 13 Caroline Wozniacki: How quickly can someone make the smooth transition from forlorn to euphoria, you ask? Let's ask Wozniacki. She went from being Rory's ex to an Istanbul champ about as fast as a Sabine Lisicki serve. After nine months of scrutiny and disappointment, Woz finally has another trophy. Perhaps forgotten after so many turbulent moments is the fact that she has 22 career titles, fourth most among current players. And if that's not enough, Wozniacki is swapping her tennis sneakers for running shoes in November to run the New York City Marathon.
No. 25 Venus Williams: It's doesn't seem biologically possible, but Venus might be getting younger with age -- or at least her results suggest so. Granted, Venus hasn't won more than two consecutive matches in her past two events, at Wimbledon and in Stanford, but she fought hard. In London, Venus finally succumbed to eventual champ Kvitova in three tout sets, and last week, Andrea Petkovic needed a 7-5 third set to take down the American. For Venus, those results are probably on par with what we should expect from her, but given her long bout with an autoimmune disease, that's more than acceptable.
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