Today’s Illustration: I Don’t Want To Lose 6:1


Serena Williams: “Serena Jameka Williams (born September   26, 1981)   is an American professional tennis player and former   world No. 1 in       women’s single tennis. She has won 23 Grand   Slam singles titles, the most by any player in the Open Era, and the second-most of all time behind Margaret Court (24).” [1]

Kim Clijsters:  “Kim Antonie Lode Clijsters is a Belgian professional tennis player. Clijsters has been a world No. 1 in both singles and doubles, having held both rankings simultaneously in 2003. She has won a total of six Grand Slam tournament titles, four in singles and two in doubles.

Individually, Clijsters has won 41 singles titles and 11 doubles titles on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour. She was a three-time winner of the WTA Tour Championships. Between singles and doubles, she has been a champion at all four Grand Slam tournaments, winning the US Open and the Australian Open in singles and Wimbledon and the French Open in doubles . . . . Her success at majors has been highlighted by winning three consecutive appearances at the US Open.” [2]

People:  Serena Williams & Kim Clijsters

Date:  December 2003

Event: Australian Open – Tennis


  • Venus Williams was already in the finals.
  • Serena was facing Kim Clijsters
  • Third Set:  Kim & Serena both winning one set:
  • Kim won the first set 4-6
  • Serena won the second set 6-
  • Serena trailed Kim Clijsters 1-5 in the third and final set.
  • Serena survive two match points.
  • Serena eventually won the third match 7-5.
  • Serena faced her sister Venus in the Finals of the Australian Open


“It was just an unbelievable battle out there,” Serena said of her great 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 escape.”

“I thought, ‘I don’t want to lose 6-1.”

“Then I said, ‘I don’t want to lose 6-2.”

“So I just kept fighting.”

“Next thing I know, I came back.”

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“This day is the first day that I’m actually feeling like Serena Williams,” she said Wednesday after moving within two wins of completing her “Serena Slam.”

Williams beat Meghann Shaughnessy 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the semifinals at Melbourne Park for the first time.

That’s bad news for Kim Clijsters, who will face Williams in the semis. Clijsters is also the last — and only the fifth — woman to beat the top-ranked Williams last year.

“Earlier in the day, Kim Clijsters . . . surged into the second round with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over American Samantha Reeves.

Clijsters advanced to her second consecutive Australian Open semifinal with a 6-2, 6-4 win over eighth-seeded Anastasia Myskina of Russia.

The 19-year-old Belgian, who beat Venus and Serena Williams to win the season-ending WTA Championships in Los Angeles last November, has lost just 16 games in 10 sets.

Cljisters has won three consecutive titles without dropping a set and her win over Myskina was her 24th in 25 matches, and 17th in succession.”

“I think right now Kim is the best player in the world,” Myskina said. “I think she feels like she’s playing at home here.”

Clijsters didn’t entirely agree.

“I still think Serena and Venus are the toughest girls to play,” she said. “Whenever you get into big tournaments and big matches, they can play even better than what they have been in that same tournament.

“I think that makes them real champions because they play even better when they have to.” [3]

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“Serena Williams came back from the dead to beat Kim Clijsters 4-6 6-3 7-5 and reach the final of the Australian Open.

Williams saved two match points and fought back from 5-1 down in the final set to keep her hopes of the Serena Slam alive.”

I was really lucky to be able to get through this match. Kim was really playing unbelievable tennis,” said Serena. “I just kept fighting. I’ve always been a fighter.

“I don’t care if I’m down 6-0 5-0 (and) 0-40. I always think positively out there. It was just an unbelievable battle out there.

“I just never think I’m going to lose. I just don’t want people to think I’m too cocky. It’s always something with us Williams sisters, you know.” [4]

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Key Illustrative Thoughts:

  • winning
  • losing
  • victory
  • fight the good fight
  • finishing well
  • do your best
  • competition
  • the arena
  • surrounded by a cloud of witnesses
  • the prophets
  • running the race
  • trials / tests
  • failure
  • success
  • fighting
  • coming back
  • a battle
  • the players
  • agonizing
  • the prize
  • achievement
. . . . . . . 

Key Words & Phrases:

  • “back from the dead”
  • “fought back”
  • “unbelievable battle out there”
  • “I just kept fighting”
  • “I don’t want to lose 6-1” / “I don’t want to lose 6-2”
  • “set for defeat”
  • “mobility seemed hampered”
  • “breaking serve . . . . breaking again . . . broke once again”

. . . . . . . . 

Sermonic Example:  There are different ways to use an illustration.  This is an example of PULLING IN & USING a phrase.

BigIdea: I don’t want to lose this way!
Passage: II Kings 7:3-4.

After  including the various parts and pieces which you have selected to described the contest between Serena and Kim . . . .

“Now listen to what Serena says as she shares her thinking during that tennis contest with Kim Clijsters.  Serena says that she was thinking this . . . . It is a thought that God’s people ought to have when working their way through trials, battles, difficulties. . . . . Serena Williams says this . . . . down five sets . . . . having only won one . . . and as the article states . . . “Set for defeat.”

Williams says this . . . .

“It was an unbelievable battle out there”

“I just kept fighting.”

“I thought, ‘I don’t want to lose 6-1”

She wins that round and then says . . . .

“Then I said I don’t want to lose 6-2.”

Williams then realizes that she can win . . . . and says

“Next thing I know I came back.”

“I’ve always been a fighter.

That is the drive and the spirit that the Lord wants from us when we are down “5-1” . . . . . When it looks like we are “set for defeat.” . . . . . I don’t want to lose 6-1 / I don’t want to lose even 6-2 . . . . I don’t want to lose like this . . . . If I am going to lose, I don’t want to lose THIS WAY . . . . ”

That is what the four lepers said – – – “let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.”  If we are going to die, we are going to die trying for a different outcome.” . . . .  They were fighters . . . . I suggest that they were always fighters. . . . . For them “it was an unbelievable battle” out there everyday!  Today . . . they were “set for defeat” along with all of those in the city.  But they “fought back” and “came back from the dead.”

Why do you think this account is recorded?  These four men never showed up before II Kings 7 and never showed up again.  They are not examples of men of great “faith.”  But they are examples of perseverance!  And the Lord says . . . . “Look at these men in a desperate situation!”

Other Links & Information:





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Serena stages superb comeback
Serena Williams looked on the verge of defeat

Serena Williams saves two match points

Serena Williams saved two match points to beat fourth seed Kim Clijsters in a thrilling Australian Open semi-final.

Trailing 5-1 in the third set after receiving treatment on a foot injury, Williams seemed set for defeat as her Belgian opponent began to take complete control.

But the American, seeking her fourth straight Grand Slam title, rattled off five games in a row to win 4-6 6-3 7-5.

 I just kept fighting and the next thing I knew I had won
Serena Williams

Williams, the number one seed, will now face sister Venus in the final as she continues her quest for the ‘Serena Slam’.

“It was an unbelievable battle out there,” she said.

“I just kept fighting. I thought, ‘I don’t want to lose 6-1.’

Then I said I don’t want to lose 6-2.

Next thing I know I came back.

“I’ve always been a fighter. I don’t know where it comes from. It’s innate.”

Gamewatch: Serena v Clijsters

Williams had struggled at times in the first set and gave it away with two consecutive double faults.

But she showed the form that has brought her to number one in the world in the second set with an important break in the fifth game to go 3-2 up.

Kim Clijsters had two match points in the third set

Clijsters had seemed set for victory in the final set

She clinched the set with another break in the ninth game as Clijsters sent a crosscourt forehand well wide.

There was yet more drama in the final set as Williams had to undergo two injury breaks after the third game with Clijsters leading 2-1.

After treatment on a blister on her foot, Williams resumed but her mobility seemed hampered and Clijsters won the next three games to put her in sight of victory.

Williams held serve and then saved two match points – one with a dramatic volley winner – before breaking Clijsters’ serve.

Williams held again to make it 5-4 and broke Clijsters once again to level the match.

 That’s why she’s the world number one and why she’s won the last three Grand Slams
Kim Clijsters

Boosted by the let-off, Williams held serve to go up 6-5 and then broke her opponent to love to win her 27th straight Grand Slam match.

Clijsters denied she had choked in the final set.

“I just kept trying and tried to hang in there… it just wasn’t good enough in the end,” said Clijsters.

“I wasn’t nervous at all, actually. I think she just started hitting winners and much more than in the beginning of the third set when I was 5-1 up.

“That’s why she’s the world number one and why she’s won the last three Grand Slams in a row now.”

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NYT Article:

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