Somewhere out in the broad world of tennis, top-ranked Victoria Azarenka must be trembling in her shoes.
News travels fast, thanks to ESPN2.
Serena Williams is back.Not just part of the way, all of the way.
The ruins of Samantha Stosur and Lucie Safarova lay in her trampled path, the result of two of the best played matches in succession anyone can remember.
Perhaps Safarova was lucky just to be in the final, and the world’s 26th-ranked player was just a one-week wonder.
But Sunday’s final of the Family Circle Cup shows just what can happen when a careertop 50 performer catches a great of the game when she’s hot.
Is anyone really surprised at what happened on the newly named Billie Jean King Court?
No, not after what Serena did to reigning U.S. Open champion Stosur a day earlier in the semifinals.
Serena didn’t just dominate Stosur and Safarova, limiting them to a total of three games. She practically humiliated them, making both of them look like near novices.
It wasn’t that Serena just won the big points. She won just about all of the points, despite at times appearing to play in second gear. Serena made it look so easy that fans must have wondered just how good Serena can be when she shifts into high gear.
When Serena finished off a love first game against Safarovawith a 107 mph. ace, the feelingin the air was that this was going to be another mismatch. That possibility was validated a few minutes later when Williams followed up a double-fault that gave Safarova a break point with a pair of aces. The rout was on, 3-0 soon to be 6-0, 6-1.
Serena never fitter
Serena has never looked fitter, more focused or more dominant, not even when she was winning four consecutive Grand Slam titles.
She nailed blazing forehands and backhands to the deepest corners of the court. She served big, and consistently. She played near flawlessly, committing only eight unforced errors.
Safarova simply couldn’t hurt Serena. The 25-year-old Czech left-hander watched helplessly as many of Serena’s 27 winners caught Safarova half a baseline away.
Serena is back with a vengeance, far from just another 10th-ranked 30-year-old. She’s still the Superwoman of tennis.
Serena’s performances here should give even more fresh hope to her nearly 32-year-old sister, Venus. Until she ran into Stosur on Friday, Venus looked almost as good as Serena.
Could there still be more Grand Slam final confrontations for them?
Reach James Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org. See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.