Serena & Venus Vanquished
Published June 30, 2010 12:00
LONDON, England - On a day when men's singles legend Roger Federer went down, as did men's doubles legends Bob and Mike Bryan, the biggest shock at Wimbledon on Wednesday may have been unseeded Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva's 36 63 64 victory over women's doubles legends Serena and Venus Williams.
Consider some of the streaks the four-time Wimbledon champs had snapped - 33 straight sets and 16 straight matches won at the All-England Club (their only other Wimbledon loss also came against a pair of Russians, Elena Dementieva and Lina Krasnoroutskaya, in the 2003 round of 16), 26 straight Grand Slam matches won and a perfect 18-0 record in Sony Ericsson WTA Tour matches in 2010.
Serena and Venus - winners earlier this year at the Australian Open and Roland Garros - also lost their chance, at least for this year, to achieve the second calendar Grand Slam in history (Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver recorded the first in 1984) and their chance to tie Navratilova and Shriver for most Wimbledons in the Open era.
Adding to the shock of the upset is prior to this fortnight, Vesnina and Zvonareva had not played a match together since 2008. In fact, during that year they won just four games in their only previous match-up with the Williams sisters, in the quarterfinals of the Beijing Olympics, where Serena and Venus eventually won gold. That being said, the Russians are no strangers to doubles success at majors, as Vesnina was a finalist at Roland Garros in 2009 alongside Victoria Azarenka and Zvonareva won the US Open in 2006 with Nathalie Dechy.
Next up for Vesnina and Zvonareva are fourth-seeded Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta, who routed Julia Goerges and Agnes Szavay, 62 62. In their first two majors together, at this year's Australian Open and French Open, Dulko and Pennetta lost in the quarters, but now are through to their first semifinal.
Not quite as surprising as the Williams result, but still an upset was Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova's 36 75 63 defeat of Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik, the No.6 seeds who were runners-up at Roland Garros earlier this month. King and Shvedova had only played two career events together prior to Wimbledon, but both were earlier this month on grass and they did well in both, reaching the semis in Birmingham and the final in 's-Hertogenbosch.
King and Shvedova's semifinal opponents will be fifth-seeded Liezel Huber and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who held off seventh-seeded Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs, 64 63. If the Americans prevail, Huber will regain the No.1 doubles ranking she relinquished to the Williams sisters after Roland Garros.
In mixed doubles action Wednesday, Leander Paes and Cara Black, Marcelo Melo and Stubbs, Wesley Moodie and Raymond and Xavier Malisse and Kim Clijsters were among the winners. The Belgians' win was a surprise, as they took out No.1 seeds Nenad Zimonjic and Samantha Stosur.