If you asked me whether or not I’m surprised Serena Williams won the Rogers Cup in Toronto, my answer would be a resounding, "Not at all." Serena had been off nearly a year from tennis with a severe injury and illness, and this marked her fourth tournament back.
Out of the four tournaments she’s played, she has now won two of them. Serena stands in a class of her own in tennis. In her own opinion, Serena still has some work to do on her game before she is 100 percent back to normal, which to me, is just mind boggling. Yesterday, Serena came out firing on all cylinders against Australia’s Samantha Stosur in the Rogers Cup finals, never allowing Stosur the opportunity to get going as her serve dictated play. The last time these two women played, it was Stosur who got the better of Serena at the French Open in a tight three-set win. On this day, Serena returned the favor in her decisive 6-4, 6-1 victory.
Watching the match yesterday, it was like watching the Serena we’re all used to seeing. Monster serve, big groundstrokes, and the most intimidating stare you’ll see in women’s tennis. Players like Maria Sharapova of Russia and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus try to intimidate you with their stare but no one, not even Venus Williams can intimidate Serena.
There are players in the world, male and female, who are just that good and have the innate ability to beat their opponent before stepping onto the court. Serena is one of those players, as her sheer presence walking through the locker room and down the hallway to the court will be enough for her to gain the advantage before the match even begins. The fierce, yet relaxed, look that Serena gives to her opponent from across the net sends her opponents into an unsure and confused state of mind. When you’ve been number one in the world for the time that Serena has been in her career, winning tournament after tournament, racking up grand slams in dominant fashion, it’s extremely intimidating to get on the court with her to say the least.
Though Serena had a few tough three setters in Toronto, she still was able to prevail all the way through to the finals where she saved her best match for last. Up next for Serena will be the Masters 1000 Series tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio where ironically she is scheduled to meet Stosur again in the second round should each of them win their first round matches which they should. If Serena is able to get the better of Stosur again, she’ll most likely meet French Open champion Na Li of China in the third round, and possibly Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals.
Do I expect Serena to continue her dominance? The answer is "Yes" because she’s now getting more comfortable on the court with more match play which, in turn, is giving her more confidence. An interesting note that was brought up in the finals between Serena and Stosur yesterday, was the question of what’s more impressive: Serena and her comeback since coming back from injury and illness or Novak Djokovic’s dominant year? The answer isn’t even debatable. The answer is Novak Djokovic’s dominating year. Some of you may ask why and the answer is simple. Throughout Serena’s career she’s been in and out of the game whether it be an injury, illness, or other career interests. No matter what the reason was, anytime time Serena turned her focus back to tennis, she came back and simply dominated the game like she never left, just like she’s doing right now.
We’ve come accustomed to seeing Serena come back from injury and expect her to dominate. That’s how much Serena is respected throughout the world. Anything less than a title victory is more news in the world than her actually winning the title. That’s how good, and that’s how much of a legend Serena Williams is.