Omair is known for his statistical contributions to Women’s Tennis Blog, but as of Roland Garros he started doing post-Grand Slam awards, giving WTA players awards they deserved on the account of their performance. You will see how the tables are turning all the time – within just a month Serena improved from the Biggest Disappointment to Grass Empress, while Maria Sharapova downgraded from the Clay Queen to the Biggest Disappointment.
Serena Williams – GRASS EMPRESS
Serena Williams was coming off a first-round defeat at Roland Garros, her first ever first-round exit at Grand Slam, but she rebounded beautifully, reminding us that she still is the player to beat on grass. The American defeated three of the Top 4 players on her way to the Wimbledon 2012 title – Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals (world No.4 and defending champion), Victoria Azarenka in the semis (world No.2 and reigning Australian Open champion) and Agnieszka Radwanska in the final (world No.3). To top that off, Serena went on to win the doubles title as well, with sister Venus Williams.
Agnieszka Radwanska – FINESSE QUEEN
In today’s game of power and big hitters, in making the Wimbledon final Radwanska showed us with her crafty play and her court sense that there still is room for finesse players. She did what neither Petra Kvitova, nor Victoria Azarenka managed to do, i.e. take a set off Serena Williams. Before Wimbledon, Radwanska was the only member of the Top 15 never to have made a Grand Slam semifinal, but she went one step better at Wimbledon making the final and falling in three sets to one of the best grass-court players ever.
Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova : EXCELLENT TENNIS SHOW
Though Azarenka and Kvitova fell in straight sets to Serena Williams, they did put up a great fight until the very end and provided us with some of the best tennis we have seen in a while. Azarenka in fighting back from a break down in the second set to force the tiebreak was arguably one of the best sets of tennis we have seen for quite some time, and Kvitova’s loss at the hands of Williams was also an appreciative performance from the young Czech, both players hitting some jaw-dropping shots.
Angelique Kerber: GUTSY PERFORMER
Kerber had won a total of two matches in her previous four Wimbledon showings, but that all changed this year with her run to the semifinals, that included victories over four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters in the fourth round and a great comeback win over Sabine Liscki, Maria Sharapova’s conqueror, in the quarterfinals.
Camila Giorgi, Zheng Jie and Yaroslava Shvedova – BRAVE HEART
Coming into Wimbledon this year, Giorgi had won a total of one match at the tour level in her small career of four matches and was ranked No.145, but she made her way into Wimbledon with three wins in the qualifying, and defeated world No.17 and former Top 10 player Flavia Pennetta in the first round and went on to defeat former world No.3 and former Wimbledon quarterfinalist Nadia Petrova in the third round in straight sets to make her way into the fourth round where she fell in straight sets to the eventual runner-up Radwanska.
Zheng put up a brilliant performance against Serena Williams and showed that she has what it takes to stand toe-to-toe against Williams in her remarkable performance in the third round pushing the eventual champion to 9-7 in the third set.
Shvedova became the first player in tennis history to win a golden set and she did that against recent Roland Garros runner-up and new member of the Top 10 Sara Errani in the third round. She went on to lose in the fourth round to Serena Williams but she put up a good display there as well, going down in three sets.
Tamira Paszek, Sabine Liscki and Maria Kirilenko: OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES
Tamira Paszek put up an outstanding performance in her wins over former world No.1 Wozniacki in the first round, former US Open semifinalist Wickmayer in the third round and 21st-seeded Italian Vinci in the fourth round. However, she fell to world No.2 Azarenka in the quarterfinals in straight sets, but overall it was no doubt an outstanding performance.
Liscki in making her way to the quarterfinal had to get through the world No.1 and Roland Garros champion Sharapova. Lisicki was 0-3 against Sharapova but she put up a great display in dismantling Sharapova. Though Liscki fell short to fellow German Kerber in the quarterfinals in three sets, she put up an outstanding performance.
Kirilenko had never progressed beyond the third round of Wimbledon, but she changed all that this year with her run to the quarters where she fell to the eventual runner-up in three sets, 7-5 in the third set.
Maria Sharapova – BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT
Sharapova was coming off a title run at Roland Garros and was one of the favorites for the title, but she too like our recent Roland Garros finalist fell before the quarterfinal stage and in doing so became only the fifth world No.1 in the Open Era to fall before the quarterfinal stage of Wimbledon, making it the sixth time that a top seed had failed to make the Wimbledon final eight.
Caroline Wozniacki, Li Na and Marion Bartoli : FORGETFUL PERFORMANCES
Wozniacki fell in the first round to Paszek, while Li and Bartoli fell in the second round at the hands of Sorana Cirstea and Mirjana Lucic respectively. It was a disappointing and forgetful performance from the three players, one of whom is a former world No.1, the other a Grand Slam champion and former Wimbledon quarterfinalist, and third being former Wimbledon runner-up.
In the end, a word for former world No.1 and four-time major champion Kim Clijsters. It was Clijsters’ last Wimbledon and she wanted to end it on high note, but her fairy tale hit a blow with 6-1 6-1 loss at the hands of Kerber, Clijsters’ second worst defeat at a Grand Slam. Here is to the hoping that Clijsters ends her career on a high note at the US Open, and lives a successful and happy life after her retirement.
Do you agree with Omair’s awards? What would your awards be? (photos: © Neal Trousdale, Ralf Reinecke)
Omair, you have enough ideas for two blogs, it seems 🙂
Good article, I agree with all your choices.
Marine – yup, it seems 🙂 It always is nice to contribute to this blog, since it was the one that gave me the confidence and the exposure I needed 🙂
Thanks for the appreciation 🙂
serena is one of the best players ever not just one of the best grass-court players ever.
in the open era, there are only 3 players in front of her in grand slams singles so i think this qualifies her as one of the best players ever. also i wouldn’t be surprised if she ties or passes navratilova and evert, would be pretty difficult to get to graf since she is already 30.
Omair, Shvedova is not the first professional player to notch a golden set. Billy Scanlon did it in, I believe, 1983. She may be the first woman pro to do so in the Open Era, but I’m not 100 percent certain.