Serena Falls, Venus Wins in QFs
Published July 31, 2009 11:59
STANFORD, CA, USA - The Top 4 seeds were part of an all-star quarterfinal line-up at the Bank of the West Classic on Friday, but only two made it into the semis, as Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic were both ousted.
Williams, the No.1 seed, was the first of the top quartet to go, losing a see-saw three-setter to an unseeded Samantha Stosur, 62 36 62. After dropping the first set it looked like Williams was clawing her way back, taking the second set and holding double break point for a 3-2 lead in the third; but Stosur held in that game and barely looked back, winning 12 of the last 14 points to claim her equal best career win, having beaten then-world No.2 Dinara Safina at Miami.
"It was really satisfying. I was really pleased how I played. Even if I didn't win today, I'd walk off the court thinking I had played a great match," Stosur said. "This is an accumulation of what I've been working for the last several years. The fifth game of the third set was the turning point of the match. If I had lost that game, it would have been very difficult to win today."
Awaiting Stosur in the semifinals will be the player who pulled off the other big upset of the day, No.8 seed Marion Bartoli, who edged No.4 seed Jankovic, 36 76(3) 63. Jankovic held double match point with Bartoli serving 15-40 down 63 65, but Bartoli fought back to take the second set and rallied from a break down in the third to beat the Serb for the fourth time in their last five matches.
"Jelena didn't give me a lot of opportunities in the first and second sets, but once I got to the third set I felt more confident about my chances," Bartoli said. "Once I saved those match points at 5-6 and won the game I felt the momentum was on my side, so I felt good going into the tie-break."
Stosur won her only previous encounter with Bartoli, 76(2) 60, in the quarters of New Haven three years ago. Neither player was ranked in the Top 20 then.
Second and third seeds Venus Williams and Elena Dementieva had few problems in their half of the draw, Williams crushing Maria Sharapova in 80 minutes, 62 62, and Dementieva beating Daniela Hantuchova almost as routinely, 62 64. Williams has won eight of her 10 meetings with Dementieva.
"I'm very excited about playing the semifinals in Stanford for the first time," Dementieva said. "It will be a great experience to play Venus. I'm happy I won in straight sets today, because I can save some energy for tomorrow."