Despite the heartbreaking manner of her defeat to Serena Williams on Friday, Anabel Medina Garrigues is leaving the Spanish capital with a spring in her step.
WTA Staff

MADRID, Spain - What do the following names have in common: Alexia Dechaume-Balleret, Mary Joe Fernandez, Jelena Jankovic, Justine Henin, Patty Schnyder and Venus Williams? Answer: they are the only players to win a set 6-0 against Serena Williams.

The most recent of these came last Friday in Madrid, during the American's quarterfinal with Medina Garrigues. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, and her compatriots inside Manolo Santana court, she could not complete the job, eventually going down to Williams, 63 06 75.

After humbling the World No.1 in the second set, Medina Garrigues had her chances in the decider, leading 4-2, and then at 5-4 missing a makeable forehand pass that would have given her two match points. But, despite coming so tantalizingly close to a career-best win, the World No.63 was remarkably upbeat.

"It was a pity. It was a match that I enjoyed a lot," Medina Garrigues said in her post-match press conference. "I managed to take a set off the No.1 player in the world and not lose a game.

"It's the first time I achieved that and it's something I never thought I could do and even though I lost, I'm very happy about that and how I played.

"As the second set was going on I was thinking, 'It might happen.' I was wondering how many sets Serena has lost at love - I don't think it's many. It's true she let her level drop a little bit in the second set, but I had to win it, too, and I did. And there it will stay for history."

And the 30-year-old is hopeful that second set and her run to the last eight in Madrid - the furthest she has ever been at a Premier Mandatory event - will offer a platform on which to build for the rest of the season.

"It's a pity because I was two points away from winning, but you have to be conscious that she's the best in the world for a reason," a philosophical Medina Garrigues added. "I am at an age where I don't look at results and rankings all the time. Although my results haven't been the best this year, many of the matches I've lost have been with high-quality players and always only because of small margins.

"My coach and I knew it was a matter of being more calm on the court, enjoying the tennis and from there on the results were going to come. I really love competing, and as long as they're not kicking me off the circuit, I want to be out there playing and winning."

Medina Garrigues is one of the senior members of an ever-growing band of Spaniards making their presence felt at the top of the game. The arrival of new faces such as Garbiñe Muguruza, Lara Arruabarrena and María-Teresa Torró-Flor, joining the more established names of Carla Suárez Navarro and Lourdes Domínguez Lino, leaves Spanish tennis in rude health.

"I see women's tennis in Spain as being very healthy," she said. "We have three or four more experienced players like me, Lourdes and Carla and then some younger girls, Lara, Garbiñe and Tita, who are also playing very well.

"It's obvious that there are three girls up there within the best of the world and have the results to prove this - Tita has beaten a girl that has won a Grand Slam, Garbiñe did really well in Miami and Lara has won a tournament already this year.

"It's a great example for young girls, who can see how well these players are doing and can hope to follow them on the circuit one day."