It’s been a tough and tumble 24 hours for the Williams sisters at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Just a day after sister Serena fell to Jelena Jankovic, Venus followed suit losing to another Serb, Ana Ivanovic, 7-6, 6-4 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
“Well, I thought I played some good tennis to win today,” said Ivanovic who earned her first career win over Venus. “It was definitely a good match. I was looking forward for some revenge. I went out there and from the first moment on I tried to think only on each point.”
Sandwiched in between the two singles losses the sisters were stunned in the doubles quarterfinals by the Chinese tandem of Yan and Zheng on Tuesday.
“I think she played good tennis today,” said Venus, who has never won the Melbourne title. “Definitely I have to give a lot of credit to her. She played really well, made a lot of good shots. And, you know, I give her a lot of credit for playing good tennis.”
Things went wrong for the 8th-seeded Venus from outset in her match against Ivanovic. The 27-year-old Williams entered the court with her left thigh heavily wrapped and she walked with a slight limp and then proceeded to get broken in her first three service games.
Williams managed to regroup for what turned out to be a mistake-filled first set which featured six breaks of serve and 39 errors to just 18 winners and ended in a tiebreak won by Ivanovic 7-3.
Williams’s play picked up in the second set as she went up a break for 3-0. But the 20-year-old Serb hung tough breaking Venus in her next two service games to regain the edge. The 4th-seeded Ivanovic saved two break points in her final service to close out the match and secure her first win over Venus and a berth in her first Australian Open semifinal.
“I mean, I don’t like that tape,” said Venus about the thigh bandage. “I don’t like wearing it. But I think it helped me, if anything, for it to not get worse. But I can’t blame my loss on that. I think that she just played some good tennis.”
Ivanovic joins fellow Serbs Jelena Jankovic and Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open semifinals.
“It’s amazing,” Ivanovic said of the Serbian success. “We get a lot of support from back home. Every time I speak to my father back home, he always says how many people are following. I think it’s great for our tennis and it’s becoming one of the major sports back home. Many kids are playing. It’s just amazing to have two, three of us playing semifinal at the Grand Slam. It’s just like a dream coming true.”
Meanwhile, No. 9 seed Daniela Hanuctova had a much easier time dispatching Polish youngster Agnieska Radwanska 6-2, 6-2 in the Slovak’s. The win puts Hantuchova in her first career Grand Slam semifinal in this her 29th major.
“It means a lot,” said Hantuchova, who has yet to face a Top 25 player this event. “I guess I had to get through all, you know, the tough times and get experience in order to be able to get to this stage. That’s why I can appreciate moments like this much, much more. I’m definitely enjoying it and really happy.”
Ivanovic has won her last two meetings with Hantuchova. The two will play tomorrow in the women’s semifinal, which will be proceeded by Maria Sharapova and Jankovic at 1:30pm local time.
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