Play to win

Western & Southern Open, Cincinnati

Women’s Semifinal: [CR1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [CR12] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)

You cannot approach anything in life, and that includes the sport of tennis, with a fear of losing.  It is the belief in self that ultimately tips the scale in one’s favor.  When you play fearing loss rather than anticipating a win, it will be reflected in your strokes.  Instead of a smooth follow through or a punishing stroke, you will inevitably check your swings and push the ball, hoping the other player will make errors.  Instead of producing winners and controlling the match, you end up at the mercy of your opponent.

That is what Serena did today, well, at least for the entire first set and parts of the third.  She could not hold serve, she guided her shots and there was no real conviction in her strokes. She kept expecting Wozniacki to make the error.  She lost the first set 6-2.

Yet Serena finds a way to dig herself out of these holes she seems to enjoy creating.  She fought back with powerful strokes and dictated play, winning the second set,  6-2.  Serena must create drama in every match.  When she should win easily, she ends up getting broken, leaving you wondering if she will escape once again.  In the end she won this match, 6-4 in the third; yet, the question remains, how many more times can she escape?

Congratulations to Serena on being the 2014 winner of the summer series bonus challenger, sponsored by Emirates.

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