Williams and Djokovic are number one

Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are both number one in the world. They came into the 2015 Wimbledon Championships and played their best tennis.

As favorites, they needed to navigate through a tough field to win this major. At the 2014 Wimbledon Championships, Williams failed to reach the second week of the tournament when she was upset by Alize Cornet of France 6–1, 3–6, 4–6. Since then, she has gone on to win the 2014 U.S. Open, 2015 Australian Open, 2015 French Open. From there, she looked to complete the “Serena Slam”—a term created by the press that indicates holding all four grand slams simultaneously—at Wimbledon.

For Djokovic, 2015 saw him achieve his fifth Australian Open Crown and another final appearance at the French Open. As the 2014 Wimbledon Champion, he was looking to defend his title.

Williams’ rise to victory

Williams faced off against qualifier Margarita Gasparyan of Russia in the first round. Gasparyan was entering in her second grand slam singles match after making her debut at the 2015 French Open. Williams won 6–4, 6–1 to head into a second round clash with Timea Babos of Hungary.

In the third round Williams faced off against England’s number one, Heather Watson, who had the crowd behind her. After winning the first set 6–2, Watson stormed back behind a British crowd that willed her into a 6–4 second set win to force a third and deciding set. Williams had to fight back from 0–3 down with the momentum of Watson winning six consecutive games against her. The world number one’s determination showed with a break of serve to get her back to 1–3. She clawed herself back to 4–4 before Watson bumped it up to 4–5. Watson was two points away from winning the match before Williams made her trademark comeback, ending the match at 7–5.

Williams moved onto a fourth-round encounter against her sister, Venus. The one-seed versus sixteen-seed matchup would be their twenty-sixth meeting, with Serena up 14–11. After a 6–4, 6–3 victory over her sister, Serena booked a ticket to the quarterfinals against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. Azarenka quickly took the first set 6–4 before Williams stormed back to take the next two sets 6–2 and 6–3.

In the semifinals she faced off with another tournament favorite, fourth seeded Maria Sharapova. Williams led head-to-head 17–2, winning her last 17 encounters. She made it 18 in a row with a 6–2, 6–4 win against twentieth-seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain. Williams would win in straight sets 6–4, 6–4 to complete her second “Serena Slam.” She now heads into the U.S. Open with a chance to become the fourth woman ever to win the calendar grand slam. She now has 21 career grand slams, which is third on the list behind Steffi Graf with 22 and Margaret Court with 24. To get a grasp of the number of grand slams she has won, it’s the same total all active players on tour have together.

Four days after winning her fourth consecutive grand slam in a row, Williams withdrew from her second-round match against Klara Koukalova at the Swedish Open. The right elbow injury took place during her practice on Thursday. Williams won her first-round match in straight sets 6–2, 6–1 over Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium on Wednesday. There are no further details on the severity of the injury. The hope is that it’s a minor ailment that will allow her to play in tune-up tournaments before she attempts to make history by winning the calendar grand slam at the U.S. Open.

Djokovic wins big

Djokovic cruised to straight set wins in his first three matches over quality opponents Philipp Kohlschreiber, Jarkko Nieminen and Bernard Tomic, which set up a fourth-round match against hard-serving Kevin Anderson of South Africa. The serve paid off in the first two sets with tiebreak wins of 8–6 in both sets to take a commanding 2 sets to 0 lead on the tournament favorite. Djokovic fought back with three breaks of serve in the third set to take it 6–1 and another break of serve in the fourth to make it 6–4. The fifth and deciding set had to be played the next day after finishing the fourth set so close to sunset. The defending champion responded in the eleventh game by breaking serve to make 6–5 with a chance to serve it out. Djokovic closed it out 7–5 to advance.

He recorded straight set wins over Marin Cilic of Croatia and Richard Gasquet of France to reach the final against Roger Federer, a rematch of the 2014 final five set thriller. Djokovic and Federer split tiebreak sets to make it a best out of three match. Novak Djokovic won the third and fourth sets 6–4 and 6–3, securing his ninth grand slam.
Djokovic will now attempt to make his fourth consecutive final of the year and win his third grand slam in 2015, which would be his tenth overall. Williams can complete the calendar grand slam, tie Graf for second in all-time grand slam titles, and win her fifth consecutive major at the U.S. Open later this summer. Check out the 2015 U.S. Open from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13.

PSU Tennis weighs in

To get additional commentary on the two champions, members of Portland State’s tennis teams weighed in on the subject.

“I think Djokovic has been really successful lately because he is an all-around player who has been doing everything well. His movement, accuracy with his shots has been so good. He does a great job of getting his opponents out of position while also being deadly on the run. Basically he is doing everything right with little fault.” —PSU Men’s Tennis player Wil Cochrane

“I was expecting Serena Williams to win Wimbledon. She is in great shape and she looks very confident in herself and her game. She is invincible at the moment and I think it will take awhile until she will lose a match. She is very good, I feel like no one can keep up with her game. Serena Williams is unbeatable because of her high level of tennis, great physical condition, and, above that, she has an incredible physical strength. Her serve and her forehand are incredible and it is very hard to compete with that. She can definitely win the calendar slam. She won four grand slams in a row (U.S. Open last year and Australian Open, Roland Garros and now Wimbledon this year), so she can and I think will win [the] U.S. Open this year also. It is tough to say who will stop her. I honestly think, at this point, no one will. Even though she had a tough match at Wimbledon with Azarenka, I don’t think Azarenka could stop her.” —PSU Women’s Tennis player Sabina-Elena Preda

“I think that what Serena has been able to do [is] illustrate her passion and drive to perfection. I believe that she very well can—if she wants to complete the calendar year, she needs to prepare herself not physically but mentally, because the amount of stress that will be anchoring her every shot through the year. As far as it concerns Djokovic, all I can say is that he earned his victory, that his struggle to earn his way into the top ten and eventually to number one shows the character he has. While I’m disappointed that Federer lost, I know that Djokovic’s skill and talent have warranted the success and victories he has achieved at this point.” —2015–2016 PSU Tennis Club Vice President Robert Brodeanu