||Last Updated: Apr 10, 2013 - 10:10:12 AM
|Serena Williams gets pumped! Williams won her third Family Circle Cup title, defeating Jelena Jankovic, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2.|
Serena Williams defeated Jelena Jankovic to become a three-time Family Circle Cup champion last weekend in the finals on Daniel Island. The match was the most competitive of the tournament for Williams, as the crafty Jankovic took the first set 3-6 before falling to Williams’ power, mobility and mental toughness in the final two sets, 6-0, 6-2.
Jankovic herself admittedly reversed her own momentum and energized Williams after the first set as she got in an argument with the chair umpire over the pace of play – disputing Williams request to wait for her to serve until she was set to receive. After the verbal flair-up, Williams dominated the remainder of the match, reaching back to unleash several 120+ mph serves in the final set.
In her matches leading up to the final, Williams disposed of her opponents in quick short sets. With Williams appearing fitter and playing stronger than recent years, will we see her collecting Grand Slam titles as the season progresses?
Venus v. Serena
The highlight of the tournament was the semi-final match between the Williams sisters, who were playing each other for the first time since 2009. The sisters were introduced on court as the strains of “We are Family” blared across the stadium. But family ties gave way to competition as younger sister Serena cruised past Venus, 6-1, 6-2. The elder Williams, who played two matches the day prior and who appeared to be hampered by injury, struggled to serve and return.
“I mean she’ll never admit it, ever, but I don’t think she was 100 percent. But you will never get that out of her, and quite frankly, three matches for her is much tougher than three matches for me,” Serena noted after the match, alluding to Venus’ autoimmune disease.
Lucie Safarova and Kristina Mladenovic upset No. 1 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Liezel Huber, 6-3, 7-6 (6) in an exciting match that closed with a seesaw tie-breaker.
Where have all the Russians gone?
This year there was not a single Russian in the main singles draw. Just a few short years ago the Russians seemed to dominate women’s tennis and came out in full force to the Family Circle Cup. Although they didn’t come to Daniel Island this week, there are still eight Russians ranked within the top 100 in the world.
Perhaps the drop in Russian players also signals a resurgence of Americans to the top of the sport as Americans made up a large portion of this year’s Family Circle Cup draw and there are currently ten Americans ranked in the top 100. The American creating the most buzz this past week (not counting the Williams sisters) was young Madison Keys, who stormed through the field with heavy hitting before losing to Venus Williams in the quarterfinals. Keys ranking jumped from 77 to 62 in the world after the Cup.
Plan for Next Year
As of publication day, April 11, there are only 352 days until next year’s Cup, which is set for March 29 – April 6, 2014.