Tsvetana Pironkova pulled the upset of the women’s tournament stunning 5-time champ Venus Williams 6-2, 6-3 today in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. Pironkova now meets Vera Zvonareva in the Thursday semifinals while favorite Serena Williams takes on Petra Kvitova.
“Well, I cannot say what surprised me,” Pironkova said. “But I think it was quicker than I thought. Winning 6‑2, 6‑3, it was the biggest surprise for me. I expected like a longer match.”
Pironkova now leads Venus 2-1 in their head to head having won their prior meeting at the 2006 Australian Open.
“Well, that match was a long time ago,” said of her earlier win over Venus. “It was five years ago. But it really gave me an idea how is she playing and how I am supposed to be playing. And, yeah, maybe it helped me.”
Venus’s loss meant no all-Williams final for the first time since 2007, and no sixth Wimbledon dish for Venus either.
“I just didn’t get enough balls in today,” Venus said. “I just, uhm, let it spiral and didn’t get any balls in. I mean, I had a lot of opportunities and a lot of short balls. I just seemed to hit each one out. You know, obviously she’s played well to get this far, but I don’t think I did anything right today.”
Venus wasn’t the only upset on the day. Russian Zvonareva had never beaten Clijsters in five previous tries, but that changed today after her 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over the Belgian.
“I think I was able to play one point at a time today,” Zvonareva said. “I was able to keep my concentration from the beginning till the end of the match. Also I’m much more experienced right now, much more mature. I think I played tactically better, and I was able to hang in there, not to pay attention to what was going on around. Even after I lost the first set, maybe there were a couple unforced errors that could have put me back, but I was trying not to think about it. I was trying to think about what I have to do next to win the next point. I think it helped me a lot.”
Zvonareva was a 2009 Australian Open semifinalist so she’s has experience, but she got crushed by her semifinal opponent, Pironkova, at the end of last year in Moscow.
“I just know that in that match I will have to concentrate on myself and execute my game no matter what the score, no matter what she’s trying to do,” Zvonareva said. “Just try not to look on the other side and try to concentrate on myself.”
Meanwhile, Kvitova had the toughest road to the semifinals today. The 20-year-old lefty saved 5(!!) match points to a choking Kaia Kanepi to win 4-6, 7-6(10), 8-6.
Kanepi, a qualifier, had multiple match points in the second set, and then the Estonian was up 4-0 in the third set but was unable to put Kvitova away under the weight of the moment.
Serena looks like the runaway favorite after taking out Li Na for a second time in Grand Slam play this year. Serena was against tested but prevailed 7-5, 6-3.
With Serena and three relatively new Wimbledon semifinal debutantes, it’s awfully hard to envision anyone stopping her from title No. 4 at Wimbledon and her 13th career Slam win.
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