MELBOURNE, Australia -- Congratulations to Serena Williams for winning her seventh major title at the Australian Open on Saturday. She's getting into rarified air with each one.
This was her second major victory against someone besides her sister, so maybe she'll get to enjoy it a little bit more. Her celebration did seem a bit subdued but perhaps that's because she genuinely likes fellow American Lindsay Davenport, or perhaps most of Serena's energy came out after her victory against Maria Sharapova in the semifinals. Or maybe, as Serena said immediately afterward, she was in shock.
Perhaps that's because this final turned on a dime. You might argue it turned at 2-all when Serena fought off all the break points. But even after that, Davenport was serving well, and in there battling. Then at 3-4, up 40-0 everything looked fine for Davenport to keep the set tight. But then she had a mis-hit, a double-fault and an unforced error. Suddenly, Serena won the next nine points of the second set and then won the final nine games of the match.
Unlike some other matches we saw this week, this will not be an instant classic. Concerns about Serena's injury dominated the set. Then she seemed recovered, and for seven games all seemed well. But Davenport just evaporated in the last set.
You have to wonder if Davenport at age 28 has another major final in her. It was sad for her to lose -- unable to dig in and battle. Given her week, playing doubles and some long matches, her gas tank might have just been empty. She remained composed but her fight and competitive spirit seemed to just disappear. And it's kind of sad because everyone would like to see Davenport win one more major before her career is over.
When women's tennis is at full strength it's going to be tough to get to the finals. Justine Henin-Hardenne should return, and the WTA Tour says that Kim Clijsters' wrist has made a recovery. I'd be shocked, though, if Jennifer Capriati is able to come back from shoulder surgery at the same level as before.
Although the women's finals became anticlimactic, compared to this fortnight of tennis, if this is going to be what major tennis looks like in 2005, then hop on and enjoy the ride.
ESPN tennis analyst Pam Shriver won 21 singles and 112 doubles crowns, including 22 Grand Slam titles.