But almost more importantly, was that an entertaining final or what? It was competitive, high quality tennis, beautiful shot making, and, well, a rollercoaster. And it was brought to you by none other than the Queen of all that is dramatic and glittery:
Oh, JJ. God bless you. She is the only player on tour (quite possibly on either tour) who can smash an overhead into Serena, argue with the umpire, repeatedly do the splits, serve 80mph puff ball serves, laugh in the middle of points, watch herself on the Jumbotron after points while covered in a nice layer of body glitter, and STILL make a competitive match of it. That's our girl (though she and Nole need to get tips from Ana on how NOT to get booed by a crowd).
Let's be clear, Serena played really well. It wasn't the athleticism, power, and tenacity that she displayed against Venus but she was smart enough to know that it didn't have to be. Serena played well within herself and played a very contained VERY clean game. Throughout the match I marveled at the fact that Serena just wasn't missing. All JJ needed her to do was miss occasionally. But she didn't. And that's where my respect for Serena grew. She played a smart match. She played high percentage tennis because she knew that JJ couldn't beat her off the ground. JJ doesn't have any weapons that could hurt Serena. So all she had to do was stay calm, keep the ball in play until JJ left something short, and then crack it. She did, JJ did, and she did.
But in the end, I think that JJ gained a lot of respect tonight, not only from Serena but from tennis fans worldwide. The fact is, JJ showed she belonged in that elite group of women's players. She pushed Serena, stayed with her, scratched and clawed her way to stay in the match. If anything, tonight was more of a showcase of JJ's game rather than Serena's. Looking at the scoreline, I have no idea how in the world JJ kept it so close. But she did, and it's more a credit to her wit, guile, and fighting spirit than her actual game. All credit to her.
And so Serena finally gets the Slam that she so rightly deserved in 2008. And when the rankings come out tomorrow, Serena will sit atop the women's game at #1, as she so rightly should (JJ #2, AI #3, Lena #4, Dinara #5).
The next major tournament for the ladies is the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo which starts on September 16th.