2011 Bank of the West Classic

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. Serena Williams - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Serena Williams - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Serena Williams - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Serena Williams - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Serena Williams - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Serena Williams - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

After the final, Marion Bartoli said some nice things about Serena, and Serena nearly broke down:

Serena Williams - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Then she posed with the trophy:

Serena Williams - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Serena's father Richard Williams was present all week, supervising her workouts and cheering her on from the stands.

Richard Williams - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

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.

Marion Bartoli - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Marion Bartoli - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Marion Bartoli - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Marion Bartoli - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

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.

Victoria Azarenka - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Victoria Azarenka - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Victoria Azarenka - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Sabine Lisicki rode a huge serve to the semifinals, but admitted that she tightened up against Serena.

Sabine Lisicki - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Sabine Lisicki - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Sabine Lisicki - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Sabine Lisicki - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Dominika Cibulkova played well, but succumbed to an abdominal injury and pulled out before her semifinal match.

Dominika Cibulkova - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Dominika Cibulkova - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Marina Erakovic - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Christina McHale - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Julia Goerges - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Julia Goerges - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Julia Goerges - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

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.

Ana Ivanovic - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Ana Ivanovic - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Ana Ivanovic - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Maria Kirilenko - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Maria Kirilenko - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Maria Kirilenko - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Some early clips:

Maria Kirilenko - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Serena Williams - 2011 Bank of the West Classic

Serena Williams - 2011 Bank of the West Classic