With the French Open just a week away, two of the biggest names in tennis grabbed dominating victories at the Italian Open in Rome on Sunday. #1-seed Serena Williams cruised past #3-seed Victoria Azarenka with a straight-set (6-1, 6-3) win, and #5-seed Rafael Nadal blew past #2-seed Roger Federer by an identical 6-1, 6-3 margin.
It was the fourth consecutive tournament win for Serena Williams, and she lengthened her career-best winning streak to 24 straight matches. In addition to those staggering numbers, Williams did not lose a single set in route to the tournament win, and held a decisive 41-12 edge in winners during the win over Azarenka.
On the men’s side, Nadal’s win is a mild “upset” over Federer, as he was the lower-seeded player, but he was just as dominant as Williams was on the women’s side. He has now won six titles since returning from a scary injury to his left knee, and with the French Open on the horizon, Nadal is once again the player to beat on clay courts.
While it is never a “shock” when a top-seed falters in tennis, it would be a mild surprise if either Nadal or Williams fail to capitalize on their momentum and win the French Open title at Roland Garros. Williams is playing at a level rarely seen in the women’s game, and Nadal’s greatness on clay courts is well-documented. It will be must-see TV every time one of them takes the court in Paris, and that is a great thing for the sport of tennis.