Friday 19 January 2018

Serena makes her point to blow away bitter rival Sharapova

Serena Williams dispatched Maria Sharapova with a speed that was brutal
Serena Williams dispatched Maria Sharapova with a speed that was brutal

Jim White

The end when it came was quick. Serena Williams dispatched Maria Sharapova with a speed that was brutal, 6-2, 6-4.

In the last game of their semi-final, serving for the match Williams produced four aces and a double fault. So total was her domination in that deciding game, Sharapova did not lay a racket on the ball.

Not that she went down entirely without a fight. Albeit a verbal one. In her parting press conference, Sharapova unleashed a pointed dig at the condition of the game in the host country.

Asked if she was pleased at least to make a Wimbledon semi-final, she replied: "Maybe if I was British, a semi-final would be incredible. I'd be on the front page of the paper. But I expect myself to be a champion of these events, and it's disappointing to come out as a loser because I know my level can be at the point of holding these championship trophies."

The truth is, the Russian's level was nowhere sufficient to hold up the trophy here.

Had she not taken so long lingering over her serve, had she not loitered in the repetitive compulsive tics of her little dances, the endless bouncing of the ball before she finally hits it, she would have been back in the locker room in under an hour.

This defeat means that since 2005, Williams has now beaten her 17 times without reply; in the last 10 encounters Sharapova has managed to accrue just the one set.


Billed as a grudge match, the love rivalry, the soap opera script of mutual disdain, this was a struggle far more intriguing in the build-up than in the delivery. As feuds go, this was so one-sided it was less a competition than a procession.

"It's been a long time since I got this far in the tournament," said Williams after her win. "It wasn't easy out there. It was interesting."

Not that Sharapova could be faulted for her effort. She started at full throttle.

However, lacking the pace across the court to keep up with Williams' enormous range of shots, she spent much of the rest of the set marooned on the baseline, watching the ball fly by out of reach.

Sharapova double-faulted away the first set 6-2 yet, one-way traffic as it might have been, she is nothing if not a fighter. She managed to face down match point on her own serve. However, Williams immediately served up the most extraordinary game to win it, one in which Sharapova did not even participate.

This may have been personal, but as revenge goes, it was a dish Williams served up piping hot.

In the final, she will face Spain's Garbine Muguruza, who beat Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 3-6 6-3. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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