North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

The Saga of Maid Marion – Wimbledon ’07

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It was surprise upset, a victory out of left field – but if it’s remembered for anything, it will be the loser, not the winner.

The 2007 Ladies Wimbledon championship was a grueling match under a hot English sun, with both Venus Williams and Marion Bartoli getting hurt. It was also one of the least expected match ups in any recent Grand Slam tournament.

Both players faced hard roads to this final and neither player was expected to make as far as the semi-finals, let alone win the championship. Williams faced a young, fiesty and unranked Russian named Alla Kudryavtseva in the first round, nearly losing in a dramatic match. Later on she faced a #2 seeded Maria Sharapova, upsetting her in the process.

Bartoli, on the other hand, went a different route. She not only upset both the #1 and #3 seeds (Justine Henin and Jelena Jankovic, respectively), but had to come from behind in each match as well! The Frenchwoman quickly went from being virtually unknown to a fan favorite among the crowds at Wimbledon, who did The Wave in support and cheered her during stoppages in play, dubbing her “Maid Marion”.

The final match started off a bit slow, with Williams taking a quick 3-0 set lead, but Bartoli battled back, eventually tying her at 4 sets apiece. However, William’s game was too fast for Bartoli, forcing her to run back and forth all game just to keep up.

This eventually was too much for Bartoli to bare. By the second set she was visibly fatigued and looking sluggish. Before long the running was getting to her – she had to call for a trainer: all the running had created a large and open blister on her foot.

However, this method of play also proved to be too much for Williams as well. During the same injury time-out, she also called for a trainer to deal with a sore thigh. And despite a wrapping for it, she looked hurt and finished the game despite a visible limp.

She limped, in fact, all the way to the Venus Rosewater Dish, winning in just two sets – 6-4, 6-1, ending the match with a blisteringly fast ace that hit Bartoli. Williams is now the fourth player to have won Wimbledon four times, joining such tennis legends as Billy Jean-King, Steffi Graf and Martina Natrilova.

Granted, Williams never looked to be in trouble. Marion started off with some sloppy play, such as her double faulting a number of times, and was never able to get the ball past Williams with much success.

In a world where seemingly every Men’s final is Federer vs. Nadel, it was refreshing to see a tournament that was as wide open as this years Wimbledon. Bartoli was seeded #17 going into the tournament, while Williams was #23. And while this win cemented Williams as one of the greats, it also thrust Bartoli into the spotlight.

Who knows what Maid Marion will come up with next?


Written by M.

July 7, 2007 at 11:38 pm

Posted in Tennis, Wimbledon

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