There won’t be a Serena William’s Australian Open title, a Serena Slam, or perhaps any major title in 2012 for the former No. 1 after the younger Williams sister exited Melbourne on Monday following a routine 6-2, 6-3 loss to unseeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova.
Harangued by a constant parade of injuries in this the late stages of her career, Williams seemed tentative and unsure of herself during the match, and exited the court after the loss and went about her post-match conference with a wide-eyed look of disbelief and suppressed anger.
When asked if anything was wrong Williams replied “Nothing really” and congratulated her opponent, before mentioning her own errors and low level of play.
“It was definitely harder to move to that [left] side,” she said, seemingly still in a daze and struggling for words. “I served like a — I guess that’s not appropriate. I served, I don’t know. I can’t even describe how I served, to be honest…You know what, I never blame any injury that I have because I feel like, uhm, she played really well and she deserved the win today.”
Williams entered Melbourne after withdrawing from a WTA warm-up event, injuring an ankle.
She finished the press conference straddling the fence between “no excuses” and “I was injured.”
“Yeah, I’m feeling fine,” she said. “Obviously I’m not a hundred percent, and I haven’t been. But it’s no excuse or anything…You know, usually I play myself into the tournament. But I don’t have a huge problem with an injury. So this is a completely different situation. So usually it’s easier for me to play myself in ’cause I’m usually physically okay, so…I’m not physically 100%. So it’s just like, you know, I can’t be so angry at myself, even though I’m very unhappy.”
Happier with their fourth-round efforts were No. 2 Petra Kvitova and No. 4 Maria Sharapova, who both remain in the hunt to steal the world No. 1 ranking away from Caroline Wozniacki during this event.
Kvitova handled No. 21 seed and former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 7-6(2), and Sharapova was forced to come from a set down to beat No. 14 Sabine Lisicki 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
“The third was a battle,” Sharapova said. “No doubt, she played some really good tennis…she’s a really solid player. She has a big game. Big weapons. Serves really well.”
Also into the quarterfinals was unseeded Italian Sara Errani, who eased past Zheng Jie of China 6-2, 6-1.
“I think I have a game that is difficult for her to play with me I think,” Errani said. “If I play like up ball, very high, she’s in a big trouble because she go back and maybe there is more difficult. She has to run more, so…this is one thing. Also today was very hot. Was difficult for both.”
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