By Josh Kramer
There are few certainties in this life. Death, taxes, and Serena Williams advancing past the opening round of Grand Slam events. Yesterday, the three certainties in life were diminished to two, when the unthinkable happened. In an upset bordering the level of Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson, little-known Virginie Razzano turned the tennis world upside down. Down a set and 5-1 in the second set tiebreaker, it appeared the most dominant female tennis player of our generation would move to 47 and 0 in the first round of Grand Slam events. A streak dating back to her Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open in January of 1998. Think again.
Razzano is a French woman who the majority of the spectators had no idea existed. No casual fan could have possibly known the name unless they had a local connection or relation with the 29-year-old French women. Ranked 111th in the world, Razzano has never advanced past the fourth round of a Grand Slam event. Serena Williams not only advanced past round one in her previous 46 Grand Slam appearances, she also ended up taking home the championship 13 of those times. Heading into match play yesterday, Razzano had partaken in ten events during 2012. Not once did she advance past the second round. To put it simply, Razzano was not exactly turning any heads.
Now Razzano has earned the opportunity to take on #88 ranked Arantxa Rus to advance past the second round of a tournament for the first time all year. What gives with Serena though? One could sum up the former number one ranked player’s performance in three words: unfocused, erratic, and weak. Three rarely used terms when describing the great Serena Williams.
Not only was Williams 46 and 0 career in Grand Slam first-round matches. She also was 17 and 0 in clay-court matches this year and a heavy favorite to take home the crown. No tears or frustration will change what happened though. Serena was on the verge of winning the match coming within two points of victory on nine different occasions. I cannot think of a more shocking upset in regards to tennis during my lifetime. As Andy Roddick said last year during Wimbledon, “If sports were predictable, they would be just like watching a DVD.”
This outcome was so far-fetched though, that no sane producer would even make this story into a movie. At the same time though, I am very happy for Razzano. Dealing with the death of her fiance/trainer has to have been extremely tough on her. Now many have to wonder what will happen next for Serena Williams. We all know that the 3 hours and 3 minutes of play yesterday will be blocked from her memory.
Can she ever regain her championship form?
Or was this colossal upset a sign that the Serena Williams we once knew will never return?
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.