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After suffering from blood clotting in her lungs and a wrist injury in 2011, Serena Williams came fighting back this year cementing her claim to the greatest of all time tag. The younger of the two Williams sister won 2 Grand Slams an Olympic Gold medal. The 30 year-old won 7 titles in the year and lost just 4 matches all year long, despite a poor showing at the first two Grand Slams of the year.
Let’s recap the American’s wonderful year.
Serena started the year at the Aussie Open, and seemed to have arrived a bit unprepared as she continued to make huge number of errors in her opening two matches. Williams appeared to have gained some form in the third round where she brushed aside Hungarian Greta Arn beating her 6-1,6-1. In the fourth round however the American suffered her biggest loss of the year to Russian Ekaterina Makarova losing 2-6,3-6. That was her first defeat at the event in four years.
Mutua Madrid Open
As the earth turned blue in Madrid, with it the blues returned for the top players in the Women’s game as Serena came back to tour. The American came back after a few months out with injury once more and appeared hungrier than ever. Serena’s first test came in her match against former No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, Serena had lost her last match against the Dane in Miami, so the American had a lot to prove. After a shocking first set that she dropped 6-1, Serena came fighting back to take the match 1-6,6-3,6-2. Williams virtually cruised to the title from there as she steamrolled her opponents from there on in walking to the title by defeating opponents like Sharapova and Azarenka in two sparsely contested sets.
Coming into the French Open, Williams was in stunning form. At the Rome Masters too, the American would have undoubtedly made the final had she not pulled out with injury in the semis against Li Na. Williams was up 5-1 in the first before she pulled out.
At Roland Garros for the first time since 2010, Williams lost in the first round of the event to 111th ranked Virginie Razzano. That was the American’s first fist round defeat at any Grand Slam sinc her debut. An unusually jittery Williams lost the match in three sets 6-4,6-7,3-6.
No one makes a statement quite like Serena Williams in the game of Tennis. The way she annihilates the best of players on certain days, is just a stunning watch. Following her defeat in the opening round at Roland Garros, experts seem to have written the American off, and believed that it marked the end of an era, an era that was dominated by the Williams sisters. Serena however, is known to be a fighter and one who can power through her opponents on days that she is focused, and that is precisely what Williams did in her Wimbledon campaign. The then 13-time Grand Slam champion played a brilliant final against Agnieszka Radwanska that went to three sets winning, 6-1,5-7,6-2. Serena fired an astonishing 102 aces en route to her fifth Wimbledon title, and dropped only two sets in the entire event. It was Serena’s first Grand Slam title since Wimbledon 2010.
Her performance drew praise from experts all over the globe with John McEnroe describing her as the “greatest female player of all time”.
At the Olympics in London, Serena was at home where she was looking for what many would call as the final frontier – the Olympic singles’ Gold. It was the one thing that had eluded the American. Her claim to the greatest player of all time became stronger as Serena once again race to the podium at the All England Club. With that win at London 2012, Serena became only the second Woman to win the ‘Golden Slam’ along with Steffi Graf.
The American played some stunning tennis through the course of the tournament, dropping just 17 games en route to that Gold Medal. In her quarter, semi and final matches against Caroline Wozniack, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova she dropped a total of 7 games. Against the Russian in the final, Serena manhandled the Roland Garros champion winning 6-0,6-1.
As we moved into the deeper into the US Open draw, Serena announced that she will be playing ‘Serena tennis’. Even before that warning came along, Serena was playing some scintillating tennis. The American had at one point won 23 games in a row before her match against former World No.1 Ana Ivanovic. Despite breaking that streak, the former French Open winner could only take 4 games off Serena, as she was overwhelmed in just 58 minutes. The semis was another one sided affair as Serena walked past Sara Errani who looked helpless in that match as Serena allowed the Italian just 3 games.
For a change, the final was a closely contested affair as Belarusian World No.1 Victoria Azarenka fought her heart out take us to a third set at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 1995. As Vika served for the match at 5-4, it seemed as though Serena would lose a second final in a row in New York, but it was not to be as the World No.1 choked giving Serena her 15th Grand Slam title.
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