Serena Williams: Is Tennis Superstar Past Her Prime with U.S. Open Finals Loss?

Bob Bajek@bobbajekAnalyst IIISeptember 13, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11:  Serena Williams of the United States wipes her face during a break in play against Samantha Stosur of Australia during the Women's Singles Final on Day Fourteen of the 2011 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

For the past decade, United States tennis superstar Serena Williams has arguably been the world's top women's tennis player. Now approaching 30 and losing convincingly to Australia's Sam Stosur in the U.S. Women's Open Final on Sunday, some might wonder if Williams is past her prime.

Williams, a 27-time Grand Slam winner who has 13 singles titles, fell in straight sets (6-2, 6-3) to big underdogΒ  Stosur, who never previously won a Grand Slam title and was 2-9 in tournament finals before Sunday's victory.Β 

After winning two Grand Slam singles titles in 2010 (the Australia Open and Wimbledon) and showing no signs of slowing down, Williams has not had a good 2011.

She had health problems that forced her from finishing the Hopman Cup and competing in the Australia Open and French Open, and she lost in the fourth round in Wimbledon to No. 9 Marion Bartoli of France in consecutive sets (6-3, 7-6).

The way Williams lost to Stosur is something to consider. Williams fell behind early and did not put all her effort on the court. On one forehand, she thought the play was over and it was her point, but the chair umpire ruled in favor of Stosur. Williams then lost her cool and screamed at the umpire, resulting in a $2,000 fine.

Not playing for the World Tennis Association for 10 months because of two foot operations and blood clots in her lung, Williams is not up to speed athletically. The Associated Press writes that Serena seemed exhausted after winning her semifinal match against No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki the day before.

At one point, Stosur scored 12 straight points to clinch the first set from Williams, thus putting the favorite in an early hole, and three of her initial 14 first serves landed in.Β 

Turning 30 and having significant health problems the past year have taken a toll on Williams, and might slow her down. Younger athletes like Maria Sharapova , Wozniacki and four others ranked ahead of Williams (ranked 14th internationally) are under 25 and beginning to reach their potential.

If Sunday was any indication, Williams might have a harder time winning a Grand Slam tournament as newer talented players begin establishing themselves.

Bob Bajek is a freelance reporter and can followed at Patch.com and Twitter.


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