lone american flag flyer

Posted on June 2, 2007


Ooh la la!

France continues to be a tough ground for American tennis players, as another American was defeated at Roland Garros.

This time, it’s Venus Williams, who did not survive her third round French Open encounter against Serbian player Jelena Jankovic. Venus pushed the match to a three-setter, but finally went down 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

Sadly, this was after the record-breaking speed of her serve in her second round match, at 129 miles per hour, the fastest ever clocked by a female player. Venus broke the record held by her little sister, Serena, whose speed of 127 miles per hour was set last year in Cincinnati.

Serena, who last won in France in 2002, is now the sole American left in the running for this year’s title. All nine American men had been knocked out in the early rounds of the Open, leading to ESPN’s lament that the US is a third rate power on clay.

Serena’s path to possible victory isn’t going to be smooth. Her next opponent might be surmountable, Russian 10th seed Dinara Safina, whom Serena is playing for a place in the quarter-finals.

But if she makes it past Safina, she is likely to face three-time champion and top seed, Justine Henin.

Henin has been consistent in this tournament, winning comfortably and looking swift and strong. She has not dropped a set in this tournament so far either.

So if Serena wants to stay on course to win her second Grand Slam of the year, she would have to summon her best game, and overcome herself, to beat Henin, and move on.

On the positive side, Serena has had a good year so far — she has won 21 out of 24 matches.

My money’s on Serena, who’s probably the most talented and confident player around and one who’s looking like she is peaking.

So the women’s quarter-finals, if both Henin and Serena face each other,.ought to be an exciting clash, pitting two of the best female players of contrasting styles against each other.

Pity this highly-anticipated showdown isn’t the final match.