Serena SlamJune 18, 2015
Can anyone beat Serena Williams?
After her three-set-victory over Lucie ŠafáÅ™ová in Roland Garros, more people are talking about the calendar slam. A player must win the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open on the same year. Steffi Graf did it in 1988, the last female player to achieve the feat. It's the Holy Grail of the sport.
Williams didn't play many tournaments this year, but she's one of seven women who have the most tournament finals (at three). She and Simona Halep have the most tournament titles (at three). The American manages to bring out her best in the major events. This year marked the third time she raised the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen, but it wasn't a smooth ride to the finals. (Serena Williams had a close win over Victoria Azarenka and Sloane Stephens in the third round and fourth round respectively.) The French Open is the hardest tournament to win, and Williams's victory was her twentieth major singles title.
Many believe she can surpass Graf's total of 22. Even the German herself said it wasn't impossible. Margaret Court has more majors than any player in history (at 24). Although Williams has been plagued with injuries throughout her career, not a few think she is healthy enough to play during the next few years.
The All England Club is the next stop. This is the site of some of Williams's greatest triumphs, winning the Venue Rosewater Dish in five occasions. Petra Kvitová, the defending champion, is the only real threat. The Czech's abilities suit the grass courts. But she must be on top of her game. (Kirsten Flipkens sent her packing in 2013. It was a year to remember, as most of the top seeds were booted out in the early rounds. Marion Bartoli was the last woman standing.) How about the other women?
Sabine Lisicki, finalist in 2013, is the other player to watch. She upset Williams in the fourth round two years ago. It's not surprising, as the German is a seasoned grass-court player. Alizé Cornet, one of the most tenacious players in the tour, also handed the world number one another loss in the fourth round last year. Williams will be the heavy favourite if Kvitová, Lisicki, and Cornet found themselves on the same side of the draw.
The US Open is the final major tournament of the year, where Williams is the three-time defending champion. She won the women's singles six times, which put her in tie with Chris Evert for the most titles in the Open Era. Molla Mallory had more titles than any female player (at eight). The American, who turns 34 this September, can surpass it.
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