Semi-final shockers for Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova
Madrid: Serena Williams’ stunning 27-match winning streak stretching back to last year’s WTA finals was snapped in resounding fashion by Petra Kvitova yesterday as the Czech progressed to the Madrid Open final 6-2, 6-3.
Maria Sharapova leaves the court after her defeat against Svetlana Kuznetsova and (right) Serena Williams shows her frustration during her straight sets defeat to Petra Kvitova yesterday. PICS/Getty Images
Kvitova will face Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova in today’s final after she also pulled off a big upset in beating defending champion Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-4.
Kvitova has only recently returned to the tour after a two-month break after admitting to feeling physically and mentally exhausted, but she looked the fresher player in wrapping up victory in just over an hour on court.
“I was very slow off the mark. After my serve I wasn’t moving as well as I should have. I wasn’t in it, I wasn’t Serena today,” said Williams.
After a tight start, the Wimbledon champion reeled off four consecutive games from 2-2 to take the first set. Kvitova then stormed into an apparently unassailable 5-1 lead in the second.
However, Williams had battled back from three match points down against Victoria Azarenka on Wednesday and ensured a nervy end for Kvitova by getting one of the breaks back to close to 5-3.
Yet, there was to be no repeat of the 19-time Grand Slam champion’s heroics earlier in the week as Kvitova broke again on her first match point to seal her first victory over Williams in six attempts.
Kuznetsova also kept her fairytale return to form going as she scored her first victory over Sharapova in seven years to reach her first premier mandatory final since 2009.
Defending champion Sharapova was the heavy favourite to reach the final for a third consecutive year with 29-year-old Kuznetsova having spent nearly six hours on court in the past two days to reach the last four. However, it was the two-time Grand Slam champion who dictated from the off and didn’t drop her serve once in the match.