A Beatdown by The Best

July 7, 2016 — Wham bam went Serena Williams’s racquet as she blitzed through her semifinal today at Wimbledon, leveling Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-0, in 48 minutes.

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“I felt like I had no chance today,” Vesnina said, ESPN.com reported. “She was in a great mood, and her serve was working really well for her. She had a really high percentage of first serves. She was placing it amazingly.

“I was really focused today. I was ready,” Williams said. “It’s never easy out there. Every point you have to fight for.

If this was a fight, then we don’t know Serena or we were watching a different match. 

It was a blur of blazing balls, of strength and power, of athleticism few, if any, women possess other than Serena Williams. 

Winner after winner spun off her racquet. She lost three points on serve the entire match, which means when her first serve went in she won 96% of the points. Off good second serves … 77%. 

As one frequent tennis tweeter said, “A girl has her game-face on,” referencing Sophie Turner from the hit series Game of Thrones who just happened to be at the match. 

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For as much as Serena screamed her way to the final at Roland Garros, she was just about the opposite today in her semifinal victory over Elena Vesnina at Wimbledon. Photo credit Leslie Billman tennisclix.com.

Williams’ dominated immediately. She broke Vesnina twice in the first set.

“Vesnina’s having trouble winning points at this point,” Cliff Drysdale said, calling the match on ESPN.

“She’s very alert, very engaged,” Drysdale's co-commentator, Mary Jo Fernandez, said.  

They joked that Serena might be on a mission to cut her match short. She’d be fresher for doubles that was coming up later in the day. 

Williams’ didn’t grunt or scream when she whacked winners or served. She methodically walked to the opposite side of the court point after point. 

Vesnina, mind you, in no underachiever in the serving department. Yet her second serves were punished.

“That was a bullet, so fast,” Fernandez gasped, as Serena clocked a cross-court forehand winner off a Vesnina second serve. Williams went up 3-0. She’d connected with 6 winners and 1 unforced error at the time.

After the longest rally of the match that gave Serena her second break and a 4-0 lead, Drysdale and Fernandez couldn’t hold back their awe and disbelief.

“What about Serena Williams’s defense!” Drysdale exclaimed.

“Even the mishits are going in for Serena,” Fernandez added.

The bloodletting stopped for Vesnina when she got on the board 1-4. By that point Williams had hit 10 winners and 2 unforced errors. 

“Serena’s playing so close to the baseline, even on the first serve,” Fernandez noted. 

“She just treats the ball with such distain,” Drysdale said. “Total domination.”

The first set was over in 28 minutes and the second took another 20 minutes.

“Everything she touches is gold,” Fernandez said. “This is the best we’ve seen from her all year. All year.”

“It was a perfect match for her,” Chrissie Evert acknowledged. 

“I can’t believe I’m in the finals again,” Serena told the BBC immediately following her victory. I’m 0-2 this year so I’m determined to get at least one.” 

Here’s what ‘perfect' looks like by the numbers:

  • Winners to unforced errors 28-7
  • Total points won: 53; Vesnina: 21
  • Break points won: 56%
  • 11 aces; Zero double faults

Williams covered a total of 555.4 meters for the entire match. Vesnina wasn’t far away - 554.4. Conclusion … Williams was max efficient. 

Was Serena happy with herself today? 

“I think for anyone else in this whole planet, it would be a wonderful accomplishment,” she said. “For me, it’s obviously holding the trophy and winning, which would make it a better accomplishment for me. I think that’s what makes me different. That’s what makes me Serena.”

Serena’s looking to win her 7th Wimbledon crown and her 22nd Grand Slam Saturday. It will be her 9th final.

No Serena Venus Final

As much as tennis fans hoped that Venus Williams would pull through her semifinal against Angelique Kerber, it wasn’t to be. Kerber was sharper, kept a tired-looking Venus on the run, and crushed an angled cross-court forehand winner to cap the victory, 6-4, 6-4. 

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Angelique Kerber kept Venus Williams on the move today. It was a key strategy for the German who moves into her first final at Wimbledon Saturday. Photo credit Leslie Billman tennisclix.com.

“To beat Venus in a slam is a tough match. She is a champion and has won so many times here. That’s why I’m happy about my game and my first time in Wimbledon final,” Kerber told the BBC. “I was just trying to go for every shot and move very well. Yeah, the last point was amazing.”

Kerber beat Serena in the Australian Open final, for the German's first Grand Slam title.

Williamses Win Doubles

Three of the four singles’ players from the two semifinals played doubles today, as well. Ironically, Vesnina was again opposite Serena as the Russian team of Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova took on the Williams sisters in that quarterfinal. They had never beaten the Russians, but were super charged to pull off the win, 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-2. 

The sisters will face Julia Goerges and Karolina Pliskova (No. 8) in the semifinals. Serena and Venus are looking to win their sixth Wimbledon doubles title.

© Jane Voigt Tennis 2013