Serena Gets a Slam and Micronesia Gets Slammed

Review of the week: 6 – 12 July 2015

Serena Williams winning Wimbledon Ladies' Singles 2012

Serena Williams slammed the door on her rivals as she took a sixth Wimbledon singles title and completed a second “Serena Slam” of four majors in a row. If she gets the same result at the US Open, she will achieve a Grand Slam by winning all four in a calendar year. Novak Djokovic became the men’s champion for the third time. While Serena will be expected to add to her four Olympic gold medals in 2016, Djokovic will be looking for a first, having just a solitary bronze to his name so far. In the girls’ singles, there was an all-Russian final, raising the possibility of a new generation of Russian female stars.

There was a dramatic finale to the US Women’s Open golf as Amy Yang of South Korea missed a straightforward putt on the last hole to gift the trophy to her compatriot, In Gee Chun. Six of the last eight Opens have now been won by South Koreans, who filled three of the top four places this year. But there will be more chance of medals for other countries at the Olympic Games in Rio, as the rules restrict each nation to four golfers.

An African cycling team, MTN-Qhubeka, made its Tour de France debut. It includes two Eritrean riders, one of whom, Daniel Teklehaimanot, wore the polka dot jersey after he took an early lead in the King of the Mountains classification. Switzerland showed its usual form at the Triathlon European Championships in Geneva, with a silver medal for Sven Riederer in the men’s event, mixed relay silver, and a fifth gold for Nicola Spirig in the women’s event. More of a surprise was the performance of France, for whom David Hauss was crowned men’s champion and played a key role in victory in the mixed relay.

One of the stars of the Pacific Games was swimmer, Lara Grangeon, of New Caledonia, who amassed an extraordinary 11 gold medals. Her tally still fell short of the 16 which she collected in 2011, including wins in every stroke. She now has 36 golds altogether. There are similarities between Grangeon and Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands, who was discussed last week. Like Joensen, she has participated in the Olympics, not for her native islands but for France, of which New Caledonia is officially a part. Her swimming club in New Caledonia has often been ranked as being one of the top ten on French soil.

Fiji sevens team March 2014

Events at the Pacific Games do not always have world class fields but one sport where it certainly does is in rugby sevens, in which Fiji won double gold. Fiji has yet to win an Olympic medal but its men’s team (above) look like a good prospect to kick that record into touch when sevens joins the programme in Rio. It will be harder for its women who defeated a weakened Australia side. The Pearls can be expected to come back stronger next year and New Zealand, Canada and Great Britain will be tough opposition. There were also rugby scores in the football, unfortunately for Micronesia, who lost 30-0, 38-0 and 46-0 for a goal difference of minus 114 – a slam but not of the Serena kind.

Next week: Open golf, the Pan American Games, fencing and Paralympic swimming.

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