Google Down the Line!: Serena pushes Elena aside, aims for fourth Oz Open crown

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Serena pushes Elena aside, aims for fourth Oz Open crown

Serena Williams, like Roger Federer, reached her fourth Aussie Open final while also making her third consecutive major final when she outhit and outplayed the hottest lady baller on the WTA Tour, Elena Dementieva in the semifinals. She ousted her Russian foe 6-3, 6-4 and will face her third consecutive Russian, Dinara Safina, who dismissed Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 7-6 (3), in the ladies' final on Saturday night.

Their serves made the difference in this match with ReRe hitting 10 aces, particularly in key moments, and Elena reliving her serving nightmares by throwing down 8 double faults. The 9-time Grand Slammer talked about the importance of serving well in this match during her post-match presser:

Q. What did you do better today? You lost to her not so long ago. What parts of your game do you feel you stepped up today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I definitely served better. It's so important to serve well against her. She's a really good returner. I moved better and I was definitely more consistent and I kept my cool. So that was, I think, some important things I was able to do.

She was also asked about the possibility of hitting double-digits career Grand Slams:

Q. If you won the tournament, you'd be in a select group that have won 10 Grand Slam singles titles. What would that mean to you to get to double figures?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It would be cool. Maybe I'll get the special 10 plus bonus mail.

Q. Meal or mail?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Mail. Like I'm sure that people have 10 plus Grand Slams get special letters (smiling). I'll be part of a really elite club.

Q. Who would you most like to receive a letter from if you reach that club? Who would you like to write you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, uhm, hmm. I don't know. I'm not a part of the club, so I don't really know exactly all the members. So hopefully I'll be a part of the club.

The Russian was gracious in defeat saying after the match,

I think Serena played really well today. Uhm, I think I was maybe not aggressive enough and maybe I was playing not deep enough, which allowed her to be very aggressive and dictate the game. But I think she was very powerful today.
No kidding. Great win for ReRe especially against Elena who was playing lights out as of late (though she may have overplayed and been Russian toast mentally by the semifinal stage.) It always comes down to who really believes and who wants it the most and more often than not, it's ReRe. She has a great chance of getting entry into that double-digit Slam club when she faces Dinara in the final.

Check back from my preview of the ladies' final tomorrow!

(images via WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)


  1. Rich: Did you see the Vera vs Dinara match? I like Dinara and was hoping she'd win, but she played "bludgeon the ball." It was if she said to herself that she would hit the ball as hard as she can as often as she can and if it goes in, cool .. if not, hit it harder.

    Odd match last night.

  2. Yeah not a pretty match at all though when Dinara was on she really pummeled the ball as you said. She kept talking about how she wanted to be more aggressive and go for her shots whether they went in or not. Let's just say some stayed in (enough to win the match) and a bunch *ducks* went flying out.

    Phew - that was close!

    The final will be about the serve and Dinara's been struggling while ReRe has been improving.

    If Dinara starts off shaky on serve, it could be a very short match.

  3. GO DINARA!! I really want to see her take this trophy! Serve well and stay focused - you can do it!! :)

  4. Vamos Serena!!I hope she crushes this lucky wriggler!!Only one was a champion in this Aussie, and it's certanly not Dinara.

  5. Oh I forgot. You can't win a match unless you've already won the AO. My bad.

  6. wtf is a wriggler??

  7. Dinara never looked sharp throughout an entire match this tournament.Lucky wriggler.
    Wriggled bye lil Shaky Cornet, who served for the match, and chocked.Victory gift number 1.
    Jelena played 15 sets, is ranked 187, walked with one foot, and yet, nothing brilliant again from Dinara.Hardly won, cause her opponent was beaten up and tired as hell, not cause she dominated and played really well.So give Dinara a chocker and 187. player in the world, and yey she goes trough!
    So, I'll be truly happy if a real tennis player wins, VAMOS SERENA!!!

  8. So if this is how you're judging Dinara, if this is your logic with her level so far, how come you're so UNWILLING to apply those theories to Serena?? Seems ass backwards to me. Serena herself will tell you she's hasn't been sharp this entire tournament. Scraped by her early rounds, got a retirement from her opponent in a match she very well could have lost. Turned things around once the roof was closed in her match with Sveta. Yes she's thru to the final, but she's been anything but solid - and she's the first one to admit it! Does that mean she doesn't deserve to be in the final? HELL NO.

    Serena very well could win the whole thing, but to talk about Dinara as if she's not "a real player" (whatever the hell THAT means) and doesn't deserve to win because she struggled a bit in some of her matches is just downright disrespectful. If you don't like Dinara, fine, but don't be such a jackass about it.

  9. Elena broke my heart. She wasn't focused and was visibly very, very nervous. Serena was barely limping between sidelines and her dress was soaked through by the end of the second point. Too bad ED couldn't open her eyes to notice and capitalize on Serena's movement, losing in the semis once again.

    FO Champ? x x

  10. Serena fought her victories, earned them.Dinara was just lucky she was given victories, by a choker and a one-foot 187 comeback player.She didn't have a real test, what so ever.Cornet and Jelena, both just gave her the victory, she was confused and lost, nothing like a champion.Hell,if Jelena was able to run and play, had she not be so tired bye bye Dinara.
    Serena had her tests, but brilliantly fought herself to the victory, her opponents didn't choke, or limp.Yeah, Azarenka retired, but we sure didn't see the hole match, what would looked like 2:1 in sets for Rere, that's for sure, she had 4:2 in second.
    So basicly, that's my opinion, and I totally dislike Dinara's way trough the final!So, yeah, live with it.

  11. didn't kuzie serve for the match against ReRe? and choked? seems ReRe got a victory gift too. i guess she's not a real tennis player. shame.

  12. Yeah Sveta is so unexperienced, just like lil Cornet, I really see the connection, she must have chocked, wait, yeah Sveta definetly chocked, she so fragile and unexperienced. lfmao Too bad, noone saw it though.

  13. clearly, you're unbalanced. your "what if" scenarios are all positive for the player you like and all negative for the player you don't like. the fact is, dinara is in the final because she won all her matches. that's the way the sport works. so deal with that.

  14. Just the fact is that Dinara would lose if Jelena was lets say even 40%, and Rere would won if we got to see the whole Azarenka match, whole three setter.And yeah, when player's ways to the final are shady, it is regularly loss in the final.
    Ivanovic's shady squiking in the semis, and really great loss in the finals.
    Things just somehow find a balance, and that's why Rere will be a champ.If injury free.

  15. Those aren't facts. That's you not liking Dinara but liking Serena. So based on your feelings toward Serena you say her Azarenka match would have gone 3 sets and she would have won. Well it didn't happen so we'll never know. Based on your feelings toward Dinara she won because her opponent wasn't 100%. By no means a fact.

    What we do know is that Dinara completed and won her match against Dokic. We also know that Azarenka retired. And we also know that Dinara and Serena both got to the finals. They both had their ups and downs. But they both got there. And they both deserve to be there.

  16. I actually thought that ReRe was going down to Vika in their match. I think she had the game THAT DAY to take her down. ReRe wasn't at the level she's at right now and Vika was positioned for the big upset. But we'll never know.

    But D also said Ali wasn't ready to beat her but she was on the brink too. She allowed Ali to dictate and control the match until she remembered that her game is bigger and sensed Ali wasn't ready to win.

    Neither one of these lady ballers, ReRe or D, played near their best throughout the tourney and would admit as much. If that were the case then Vera and Elena would fighting for the title. But in the tightest moments, when it really mattered, these two were mentally the strongest. In the end, that's what made the difference so IMO they both deserve to be there.

  17. Hey Rich!

    Love that first photo of Serena - she looks like Tina Turner belting a high note.

  18. coughingcat: I like your thinking - Lena's got the clay court feet and the goods to win. I hope she's more careful about overplaying though.

    FF: HA! Love it - ReRe as TT. She's powerful too.


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