Azarenka d. Sharapova 63 60
Whatever tangential, slamless universe opened up in the immediate aftermath of Henin’s first retirement (and locked out quite admirably for a year by Serena) is no more.
1) Four first time GS winners. Based on this, you either believe the WTA is flat-lining, or you welcome in the new faces and perhaps even hope to usher in a new age. I choose the latter.
2) Juju gone. Kim gone by end of year. Difficult (sadly) to know how much more we can expect from Venus. And Serena will face the occasional upset (last 2 slams attest to this). Perhaps the guards have been altered. But if Serena soundly spanks everyone at Wimbledon we'll be forced to change at least one of them right back again.
3) I make no secret of my affection for Vika. She's roguish, she's impudent and sometimes downright garish. And, yes, some of that still needs looking at.
4) She’s also uncompromisingly real – the uncontrived cowboy of the WTA, who gives 110% every time. It’s plainly disingenuous to harp on about the former without once mentioning the latter.
5) Besides, if she was really as bad as all that, she’d have reacted quite abominably to the spate of bad luck she's had over the years.
6) Heat troubles, injuries, quite atrocious draws (ending mostly with Serena Williams)....it's been quite a journey. A lesser spirit would have faded into obsolescence quite timidly.
7) Instead, she works hard at her fitness and game, and wins her first GS playing something at her best (and with uncharacteristic variety) at a venue which, given her susceptibilities, may as well have been the surface of the sun.
8) A triumph that included a win over Kim. A triumph that bagged her the #1 ranking. Yes, I checked and rechecked....and every box has been ticked.
9) Pova clearly has her troubles, but if anyone claims she's not a genuine GS contender after her second final in just seven months, they're lying.
10) The way she held up against Petra in particular (who was ferociously/religiously teeing off on every second, and even some of her first serves) in that final set was truly inspired – my nominee for women's match of the event.
11) Spare a thought for Woz. On second thoughts don't – she's savvy enough and thick skinned enough to know where she's falling short and that a #4 ranking is about right.
12) For what it's worth I still think Petra is the best player on the planet right now.