Video: Serena applauds Azarenka's gorgeous volley
Serena Williams is a lot of things, and among them, some consider her a brash personality, an abrasive, ill-tempered bull in a china shop among her peers in the WTA.
Well, let the record show that, upon watching her opponent carve out a fantastic volley in the Western & Southern Open final's final-set tiebreak—at 6-6, a shot that put Serena down match point—she hardly responded rashly.
What did she do? She clapped her racquet. At length. Not in a sarcastic Angelique Kerber sort of way, but as her once-idol Monica Seles before her, she acknowledged the great shot off of the strings of Victoria Azarenka's racquet and moved on. See their tense, terrific exchange here:
I watched that point and that match live behind the baseline. For all her first-set petulance, Azarenka composed herself quite well in sets two and three and went on to win her first Cincinnati title, deservingly. (Meanwhile, Serena remains winless as trophies go in Mason, Ohio.)
It's odd, as Azarenka was not playing wonderfully all week by any means, serving woefully when I watched her against Magdalena Rybarikova on Thursday and then broken ten times by Jelena Jankovic (granted, no serve-returning slouch) on Saturday. Facing down Serena in the final was a tall order—and she did it.
With this tournament in the bag, and just the New Haven Open standing between Cincy and New York City, who do you think is the U.S. Open favorite in the women's draw?
Got a thought, a tip, or a point to make? Hit me on Twitter @jonscott9.