Wimbledon Slice, Day 10: Best against the best


Centre Court witnessed two women's semifinal matches on Thursday. One displayed the sort of quality worthy of any final and one conjured no interest whatsoever.

Saturday's women's final, the latest matchup between the Williams sisters, could be a combination of both.

Because whatever the standard these two incredible athletes, who honed their skills and their championship mentality on the mean streets of Compton, are able to produce in the title game, there will be many who simply don't care.

An all-Williams final at the All England Club is many things. It is the latest chapter in an amazing sporting success story, one that began before Venus (pictured) and Serena were even born when Richard Williams decided to breed daughters who would change the tennis world.

It is a testament to the longevity of two women, who despite being only 29 and 27, have sustained their levels for a decade in a profession that typically has a short shelf-life.

It is a damning indictment too, on the rest of women's tennis, that no player, apart from the valiant Elena Dementieva against Serena on Thursday, was able to cause either sister to break into sweat over the course of the tournament.

What Saturday's final won't be, however, is gripping drama.

Grand Slam finals between these two are generally one-sided affairs in either direction and there really just isn't enough of a vested interest to have anyone biting their fingernails in nervous anticipation.

Those who love to hate the Williamses, and there are many, fueled by jealousy and resentment, don't want either of them to win.

Supporters, on the other hand, tend to simply be pro-Williams, showing no preference for either sister.

But even though it probably won't be the most exciting final, it is the right one.

It will be the best against the best, and maybe we shouldn't expect more than that.


James Blake and Mardy Fish came within a whisker of clinching an unexpected place in the doubles final, but blew a series of opportunities for victory in their semi, losing to Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic 10-8 in the fifth set.


Former finalist Zina Garrison's appearance at Wimbledon, in the over-45 ladies' doubles has been a welcome sight. Garrison has fought against eating disorders and personal problems and shows every sign of getting her life back together. An ignorant report in a London newspaper, which described her as being the size "of a small fort", won't cause her head to drop.


Another day of bright blue skies and blazing sunshine, and the $120m spent on the Centre Court doesn't look like great value. But with heavy downpours scheduled for finals weekend, the steel and glass contraption could yet have a part to play in the destiny of the tournament.


There wasn't much competition, was there? Dinara Safina's meek capitulation against Venus Williams was an utter waste of time. Even so, Serena Williams' epic victory over Elena Dementieva, 8-6 in the final set, was one of the highest quality women's matches ever seen at the Championships and certainly the best of the tournament so far.


It is hard to look beyond what would be seen at the All England Club, and in much of the tennis world, as the dream final. Roger Federer should have more than enough to finally end Tommy Haas' dream run, while Andy Murray will have perhaps the best return in the game and patriotic pride behind him as he looks to blunt Andy Roddick's demonic serve.

Prediction: Federer beats Haas, Murray beats Roddick

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