Saturday July 3rd, 2010

Three quick thoughts from the women's final at Wimbledon on Saturday:

• Nobody's going to remember much about the tennis. In the category of "How did that happen?" among Wimbledon women's finalists, Vera Zvonareva was right up there with Nathalie Tauziat (1998), and Serena Williams' 6-3, 6-2 victory was the most predictable since the heyday of Martina Navratilova (routing Andrea Jaeger in '83 and Zina Garrison in '90).

Serena had some other opponents in mind, though, namely history and perception. It wasn't so long ago that people questioned her commitment and fitness, but behold her today: the most consistent elite player on tour, trimmer and more mobile than she was two years ago, and moving up the all-time list with 13 major singles titles.

Most players and tour insiders rank Wimbledon and the U.S. Open as the most prestigious of the Grand Slam events, and consider this: Serena now has seven titles in those two events, just one short of Margaret Court and Chris Evert, and two behind Billie Jean King. If anything, Serena is a better player than ever before, with no end to her career in sight. History is going to look favorably upon this woman.

• "I'm going to take this match seriously," promised Mary Carillo on the NBC broadcast, and we were all hoping to do the same. At least Zvonareva kept her composure, in the wake of numerous emotional breakdowns in the past, and her Wimbledon performance (she also played in the doubles final) gave a boost to Russian women's tennis. Going into the tournament, Elena Dementieva was the only Russian in the WTA's top 10 .

• Looking ahead to the U.S. Open, Serena has another mountain to climb: Erasing last year for good. She has been a model of comportment since her epic confrontation with a line judge, and considering that her opponent that night was Kim Clijsters, that would make for a pretty decent final in September. Serena-Maria Sharapova sounds like a gem, as well. With so many other top players either injured or erratic, scant few alternatives come to mind.

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