Venus, Roddick both ousted
Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 6:15 am
By STEPHEN WILSON
AP Sports Writer
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Five-time champion Venus Williams was ousted in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon today, losing 6-2, 6-3 to 82nd-ranked Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria.
The stunning upset came one day after Andy Roddick, the No. 5-seeded American, erased an early deficit to even his fourth-round match against 82nd-ranked Yen-hsu Lu of Taiwan, then got broken for the only time all day in the very last game and lost 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 9-7 despite hitting 38 aces.
The second-seeded Williams, who had reached the Wimbledon final in eight of the past 10 years, was undone by a slew of unforced errors and double faults in the biggest upset of the women’s tournament.
It was Williams’ worst loss at Wimbledon in terms of games won — only five.
In another surprise, 21st-seeded Vera Zvonareva of Russia rallied to beat two-time U.S. Open winner Kim Clijsters 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to reach her first Wimbledon semifinal.
Williams never got going against the 22-year-old Pironkova, who is the lowest-ranked player remaining in the women’s draw and had never previously passed the second round in 18 previous Grand Slam appearances.
“I just didn’t get enough balls in today,” said Williams. “I let it spiral and didn’t get any balls in. I had a lot of opportunities, a lot of short balls and I seemed to hit each one out.
“If there was a shot to miss, I think I missed it. … I didn’t bring my best tennis today.”
The loss rules out another all-sister final between Venus and Serena Williams, the defending champion who faced China’s Li Na in a later quarterfinal.
Pironkova beat Venus Williams in the first round of the Australian Open in 2006, but few gave her a chance of replicating the feat on the grass of Wimbledon, where Williams has dominated for a decade.
But Williams was clearly off her game, committing 29 unforced errors compared to just six for Pironkova. Williams had five double-faults, including back-to-back doubles in two games.
She also hadn’t lost at a Grand Slam to a player outside the top 80 since that defeat in Australia to Pironkova, then ranked No. 143.
“Honestly, I think no one expected me to play semifinal in Wimbledon and to beat Venus Williams like that,” Pironkova said. “Coming here I really just wanted to play a good game, to maybe win one or two rounds.
“I still cannot believe that I reached the semifinals. This is truly like a dream to me.”
Pironkova denied Williams her 200th career win on grass and spoiled the prospect of a fifth Wimbledon final against Serena, who beat her older sister last year for her third title at the All England Club.
Published in The Messenger 6.29.10