It was billed as the biggest showdown Wimbledon was to see since Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer in five sets a few years ago.
Only this one was much spicier. It had boyfriends, ex-lovers, personal barbs and two of the most stunning women tennis players ever to have graced the game – though the word ‘grace’ here must be used pending future clearance.
And all this before a ball was even hit at the SW9.
Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams were in the ultimate sports-lifestyle face-off.
In that round we gave Pova the game.
Only one could come out on top at Wimbledon, though.
Both did their best to do their worst on the court. Sharpova crashed early and Williams ran into the huge serving Sabine Lisciki.
So strictly speaking, in playing terms, there is no winner.
However thanks to the WTA 40 Love celebration and the on-court avatars of the World No 1 and World No 3, we can still do the Sharapova vs Williams, Round 2.
New balls please.
Williams to serve.
Fashion, off-court: 40 Love Celebration
Sharapova chose trousers. If anyone could give trousers some leg it would be the Russian, but with her form and fitness, surely a dress would have been the better choice.
The see-through top shimmers, set off against her winsome smile. But, pants?
Serena went for a figure-hugging number in a bright pastel colour that worked perfectly against her ‘Amazonian’ physique.
With all the talk about how she would easily beat many in the men’s section, Serena ‘womaned’ up for this shoot and pulled it off perfectly.
Score: 15-0, Ms Williams.
Both made subtle style statements with their white-must Wimbledon outfits.
Both stated a calm confidence with a touch for the flair.
Serena with her shoulder straps and Sharapova with her noodle straps – or were they spaghetti.
Serena had accessorised nicely, nails and all, but failed to accelerate.
Both strutted the court, but failed to rule.
Given that Serena has largely had an ‘ugly’ side to her on-court demeanour, she looked as graceful as a power player with her physicality could look.
Score: 30-0, Ms Williams.
Grace under fire
Both lost early. Both lost to opponents they should have beat. Both had contrasting comments after the game.
Here is what they said:
Sharapova: (Had told the chair umpire the conditions were dangerous), "After I buckled my knee three times, that's obviously my first reaction. And because I've just never fallen that many times in a match before."
Williams: "I probably couldn't be more disappointed. I think I may have backed off of a success. I was playing something successful. I didn't continue that path. The result didn't go the way it could have gone had I continued to play the way I did in the second set."
Williams takes responsibility.
40-0, Ms Williams
Most damning quote by a former player
Former British Ladies Number One and now TV presenter Annabel Croft:
“Sharapova is in love”
“I’m in awe of Serena every time I watch her play”
Game, Ms WIlliams