The gaping hole in the WTA started to fill up this week as the Williams sisters chose the Aegon International tournament at Eastbourne, UK to stage their comeback(s). Venus was out for 5 months with a hip injury; whereas Serena’s injuries stemmed back almost a year, first slashing her foot on broken glass and then, to add insult to injury, suffering a life-threatening blood clot.
“I'm just excited, more than anything, to be playing." The younger Williams expressed her eagerness to be able to compete again.
Venus managed to battle her way past her first two opponents to reach the quarterfinals. But she’s flying the Williams flag alone as Serena, (having showed unbelievable resilience in her opening match against Pironkova to close it out after an understandably tentative first set, 16 63 64) failed to do the same for her second match despite actually serving for it during the second set.
The match – against world no. 3 Zvonareva, drama ridden from start to finish, reminded us just how much we missed the four-time Wimbledon champion. Serena looked in control at the start and there were numerous flashes of the intimidation factor she possesses; but a pesky year away from match play will manifest itself some way or another, and it did so for Serena by way of her mental and physical fitness.
The two played a competitive tie-break in the second set which Zvonareva secured and after she broke early in the third, that looked to be it. But Serena is Serena. Having run out of strength, she tapped into her heart reserves – of which there seems to be an abundance – to even the score at 5 all, breaking twice, including when the Russian served for the match at 54. But that proved to be just about all she could muster as Zvonareva broke back and played a much more convincing game to serve out the match.
Despite the loss, Serena should be nothing but positive. She now has a feel of competing once again, and just in time for Wimbledon. If she finds a good combination of training and rest and brings that fighting spirit along with her ticker, she will no doubt be in good stead for a title defence. After all, who else could perform that emphatically after spending a year off-court; fighting for their life in the mean-time? Only Serena.
Click "Read more" to see my fanatic take. Do it do it do it.
Only Serena. Amazing fight from Vera (Bepa) who refused to buckle. I’m sure she’ll gain a lot of confidence from her 2nd Serena win despite the circumstances. She’s so purdy. She literally looks like a baby. Can you imagine what her babies would look like? (Fetuses?) Anyway they’d be cute. ‘Twas nice to watch a really great ladies’ match.