Kind of a dramatic change, going from bull dropping showers to shooting the ladies of the WTA tour, but that's the beauty of this life. It was Bank of the West Classic week at Stanford, and with Serena Williams on the comeback trail from injuries and in the draw, it was sure to be an interesting week. I honestly don't know enough about tennis to write much about it, (for that you should go read the excellent writing of Chris Oddo at The Fan Child's Two Cents, especially this post on what it's like to watch Serena play in person) but I will say that the opportunity to watch one of the best ever do her thing was a privilege. In an era where players in all sports try to stay cool and act as if success is no big deal, Serena doesn't even try to mask her emotions. More than just giving it up after big points or big wins, in heated rallies, Serena's expression gets even more intense from shot to shot. Action is great, but emotion is king, or in this case, queen.
After the final, Marion Bartoli said some nice things about Serena, and Serena nearly broke down:
Then she posed with the trophy:
Serena's father Richard Williams was present all week, supervising her workouts and cheering her on from the stands.
2009 BotWC champion Marion Bartoli had an easy path to the final, playing just three sets total due to injuries to her opponents. Still, despite getting off to a fast start in the final, she couldn't match Serena's power, and was slowed by a hand injury in the second set.
2010 BotWC champion Victoria Azarenka didn't play as well this year in singles, but she and partner Maria Kirilenko mowed down the doubles field to take the title.
Sabine Lisicki rode a huge serve to the semifinals, but admitted that she tightened up against Serena.
Dominika Cibulkova played well, but succumbed to an abdominal injury and pulled out before her semifinal match.
Neither of my two favorites (Kirilenko and Ana Ivanovic) made it very far in the singles draw, but Kirilenko did end up winning the doubles title.
Some early clips: