It is arguable whether losing to a seven-time Grand Slam champion can ever truly be considered an upset. But when World No.2 Victoria Azarenka was bundled out of the Toray Pan Pacific Open by Venus Williams, it certainly raised a few eyebrows.
Sixteen days earlier, Azarenka had produced some of the best tennis of her career, albeit in a losing cause, against Venus' sister, Serena, in the final of the US Open. And while Azarenka struggled to hit the same heights in the Japanese capital, she remained dangerous to the very end.
"Victoria is always difficult to beat - I don't think she was feeling at her best today," Williams said after the match. "And I had to stay concentrated against her because she's a difficult opponent, and I still had to play well."
Azarenka struggled to settle early on, and double faulted twice to hand over a break in the opening game. Williams was in no mood to pass up on this gift, breaking once more as she cruised towards the first set.
The second set was a tighter affair, but Williams continued to serve intelligently and pounce on anything short. The American turned 33 in the summer, but proved she has not lost her appetite for the fight, winning the last two games to quash a late rally from Azarenka and close out the match, 62 64.
"I feel like I'm playing well. My serve is coming back to me and just getting a chance to play matches is awesome," she said. "I'm an old hat at this - I've been around a little bit more than forever!
"I know I can play well. I just have run up on a ton of bad luck lately. But I'm working through that. And if any good luck comes my way I'll be on it."