Serena Williams’ Dramatic Exit; Thursday Semis Set at Australian Open
by Staff | January 23rd, 2013, 9:33 am
  • 61 Comments

Drama queen Serena Williams exited the Australian Open on Wednesday in typical Serena fashion, amidst smashed racquets, screaming and various injuries in losing to fellow American and No. 20 seed Sloane Stephens 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in quarterfinal play.

“Oh my gosh, it’s been a little difficult,” Williams said of the Australian fortnight where through five rounds she had injured her ankle, hit herself in the face with her racquet during a point, and against Stephens saw the recurrence of a back injury that she said had flared up a few days prior.

“I even screamed on the court. I was like, ‘Ahh.’ I totally locked up after that,” she said of her back injury. “It was just like — it was a little painful. But, I mean, it’s OK. It was what it was.”

Her first loss since August 2012 in Cincinnati, the result put a halt to her streak of 21 straight matches won.

“I don’t know how many unforced errors I ended up hitting, but for sure more in one set than I probably did in the whole tournament,” she said. “So I think her level was high. But as for my end, I mean, you can tell. You each can say this is definitely not my best match in months.”

Williams had 48 unforced errors to 39 for Stephens, who is through to her first Grand Slam semifinal.

Williams built a 6-3, 2-0 lead before running for a drop shot set that off the back injury. In the third set Williams broke to go up 4-3, but Stephens won the last three games against the injured former No. 1.

“Last night someone asked me, ‘Do you think you can win?’ I thought about it and I was like, ‘Yeah, I think so,’ but I wasn’t too clear about it,” said Stephens, who did not have a win over a Top 10 player entering the match. “This morning when I got up, I was like, ‘Dude, like, you can do this. Like go out and play and do your best. I think I was convinced I was able to do it when I lost serve in the first game in the second set and went down 2-0. I was like, ‘Hmm, this is not the way you want it to happen. But just fight and just get every ball back, run every ball down, and just get a lot of balls in play. I think you’ll be okay. From then on I got aggressive, started coming to the net more, and just got a lot more comfortable.”

In the semifinals Stephens will have another tall order in world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who on Wednesday defeated former world No. 2 Svetlana Kuznersova 7-5, 6-1, recovering from a 1-4 first set deficit.

Kuznetsova missed the second half of 2012 with a knee injury, and came out swinging against the world No. 1.

“I feel like at the beginning it was a little bit like play around, a lot of back and forth,” Azarenka said. “We were both producing good tennis, but I felt like she was a little bit on top of me on the important moments. I didn’t really take advantage, and she did. That’s why she had the lead at the start. But then I turned it around and took control in my hands. That’s what I felt was a turning point.”

Azarenka also confirmed to the press afterwards that she is not a robot.

“It would be silly to say I’m not excited, I’m not nervous,” she said. “I think the person who is never nervous is a really scary person. I mean, that person is a robot, really. Everybody has emotions. It’s just a matter of how well you can control them for you to feel good before you go on the court, or when you’re on the court. It’s just a matter of how well you prepare yourself mentally, physically, to be in the state of mind that you want to be out there on the tennis court.”

The players will step right back onto the court Thursday for the women’s semifinals, featuring (2) Maria Sharapova vs. (6) Na Li, and (1) Azarenka vs. (29) Stephens.

 


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61 Comments for Serena Williams’ Dramatic Exit; Thursday Semis Set at Australian Open

nadalista Says:

Oh I get it……….it’s only Rafa who is not allowed to talk, during the post match interview, about any injuries he may have suffered during a match…….

Clear.


Humble Rafa Says:

People call me a sore loser for using injuries to justify losses. How about the big lady?


skeezer Says:

Rafa fans crack me up at times…err…you could actually SEE Serena get injured on court. Cleared.

As Tsonga says, the womens game always gets the drama, what else is new?

Now we get to watch shrieking too….

Thya is why I like Stevens. None of that stuff and a fresh of breath air to the womens game….


Humble Rafa Says:

Have you not SEEN me get injured? I had cramps in the press room, for everyone to see and you still didn’t believe it.


jen Says:

I’M NOT A FAN, BUT SERENA WAS CLEARLY HAMPERED BY WHAT LOOKS LIKE A LOWER BACK INJURY …Sloane should just consider herself lucky (check both their match stats, they tell the whole story)


Dan Martin Says:

I’ve got my semifinal picks up http://tennisabides.com – stop in if you have the time


skeezer Says:

HR,
LMAO!


alison Says:

Serena will be dissapointed about this result no doubt about it,and the chance of a calendar GS is gone,however i think this will only make her more determined than ever about the rest of the year ahead,the FO seems to be her worst surface but i wouldnt bet against her lifting both the wimbledon and USO trophy if shes fully fit,i dont know if SS will be able to back up this result against Vika,but i think you could make a case for Li Na,Vika,or Sharpie especially on lifting the trophy,my pick would be Sharpie whos played fantastic all fortnight,like a woman possessed.


jane Says:

So far Na Li is doing well versus Maria, leading and really pushing on her service games – right now going for a double break.


jane Says:

She’s reading Sharapova’s serve so well thus far.


Wog boy Says:

It is very hot day, it must be like the oven down on the court, and it will be hot evening too. It looks like Maria is taking control of the match slowly.


Wog boy Says:

Well, I was hoping so …


jane Says:

She’s just been broken second set Wog boy – hey, did you get tickets for Nole/Ferru or not?


Wog boy Says:

jane,

No I did not, I will be watching it in the hotel. I went for a walk in Fitzroy Gardens and came back soaking wet, it is hot outside.
BTW, it looks Maria is on the way out of AO.


jane Says:

Definitely Na Li is the better player tonight. She’s been all over Maria’s serve in particular, but she’s also played a super clean match – no hormonal interruptions or over-boiling female emotionalism. ;)


Kimmi Says:

maria movement has been exposed…


jane Says:

I mean, she’s made some errors, but she has more winners than errors and she’s defended well and been aggressive too.

And she just broke again – wow! Hot play from her; it could be an interesting final. Did Li win here or was she in the final only? I can’t remember?


Wog boy Says:

She lost to Kim, methinks.


jane Says:

She out-returned Maria – 51% on the return, whereas Maria is 38% – beating her at her own game.


Wog boy Says:

She always plays extremly well in Melbourne.


jane Says:

Ah right Wog Boy – Kim.

Well, congrats to Li – fabulous match from her, well done! Another final.


Kimmi Says:

sharapova who was beating everybody up in the early rounds has been routed 2 and 2. Exactly the score line she has been giving her opponents


Kimmi Says:

ha ha ha, she is so funny.


skeezer Says:

Awww Li Na so cute in post interview. Well played Li!

Sorry, but kinda stunk that Sharapova raced off the court after the loss.


Wog boy Says:

It was smart move to hire Henin’s coach.


skeezer Says:

Well one Shrieka down, one to go. Are we starting to see the end of the Shriek? My goodness, me hopes so ;)


jane Says:

Agree Wog boy – I don’t think it was working with her husband as coach, but she was very strong tonight.


jane Says:

I think Azarenka comes through versus Sloane, but you never know.


Kimmi Says:

Jane – lol @ 11.09pm. Maybe sharpie is fighting the hormonal interruptions today.


skeezer Says:

@kimmi
Lol!

I am just hopin the Shrieka girls are going out of fashion…;).

Cool, calm, collective may come back. amen.


Wog boy Says:

skeezer,

I don’t mind women screaming but I don’t like when man are doing it, doesn’t sound as natural as women. I wander how we would sound if God decided that we have to give birth;)

OK, I will be cheering Vika, but I like Sloane and I am more than happy that I had a chance to see her live yesterday, nice girl.


Wog boy Says:

“wonder”


skeezer Says:

Sloane stops here. Serena would have clocked her bigtime without the injury. If Azarenka doesn’t thump her, shes a wuz.

Sloane has got a bright future, but not here.


skeezer Says:

Wogboy,

Whatever toots you horn ;)


skeezer Says:

Wogboy,

Whatever toots your horn ;)


jane Says:

Kimmi, maybe, lol, and then Jo was … right?

But probably it was just that she was outplayed and not some feminine emotions. :)

That just sounds so funny coming from him of all people, as clearly he’s an emotional and momentum player.

And last I checked, males have hormones too, hee hee. I know it’s just language but still.

Aza starts strong.


skeezer Says:

jane,

Hormones? Men? What is that? You mean steriods?


skeezer Says:

1 vs 29….. Mmm what should we all expect? And the #1 has all her top opponets…..out(at least those who shriek)


Wog boy Says:

jane,

Very nice article about Nole in todays Herald Sun by Ron Reed. I cannot give you link but if you google Herald Sun then Sport and scroll to “Charmed by Djoker.”

I like the part: “Roger? Look, as Beverly O’Connor lovingly suggested in these pages yesterday, the Fed Express is wonderful in every way, almost too good to be true, in fact. But he lacks the sense of adventure-the X factor-that Djokovic brings to the table.”
I know it is off topic, but since you are on this thread …


Kimmi Says:

looks like one shrieka will be in the semi


jane Says:

Wog boy,I will look it up now, thanks!

Vika is a better player than Sharapova, now, more rounded. I think it could be a really good final between her and Li. Vika even pushed Serena at the USO.

skeezer, I think it begins with T. :)


jane Says:

Sloane coming back into the match??


jane Says:

Again she broke back, and now Azarenka is being seen by the trainer.

Sloane is hobbling her opponents, ha ha.


Wog boy Says:

jane,

I think Vika got injured halfway through second set, about 2:1 result. She was pretending that everything is OK hoping she can close the match but it wasn’t to be.


Wog boy Says:

Good job Vika, now go for the title, you can do it:)


jane Says:

Yeah it seemed like she was having some troubles on her serve. Well, she’s through! Good luck to her.

Nice effort from Sloane, a good breakthrough.


nadalista Says:

Victoria Azarenka’s explanation for taking a 10-minute MTO BEFORE her opponent’s serve, courtside interview: She was nervous and overwhelmed.

Lucky for her, her name is not Rafael Nadal otherwise the message boards would be on fire with righteous indignation!


nadalista Says:

……..not to mention the fact that everyone could actually SEE her getting injured on court, eh @skeezer?


Margot Says:

Li Na is playing gr8. If she can control her nerves, she takes her second slam :)


jane Says:

Yes, it was odd, because the trainer was working on her back/ribs on the chair. So it seemed like it could’ve been related to why she couldn’t serve. But when she was interviewed she said felt like she was having a panic attack – and the fact she left the court is unusual isn’t it? I mean I’ve seen MTO, but why did they leave the court? It did happen fast so I didn’t really get it.


Wog boy Says:

nadalist,

Did anybody asked Federer last night what is his recovery routine after five setter?

If Roger beats Andy, are they going to accuse him of doping?

I mean we have entire thread of how he (Nole) can do it, didn’t we?


nadalista Says:

#jon wertheim: “Not sure if it’s weirdly admirable or horrifying arrogance/cluelessness that Azarenka unapologetically admitted to gamesmanship “


nadalista Says:

Wog boy,

Sooooo……your excuse for Vika’s lame answer to the MTO question is…..she gets picked on?

Tbh, I actually like Vika and have been routing for her to defend her title from the beginning but sorry, I don’t think she needed gamesmanship to defeat Sloane……..


Wog boy Says:

Did you expect her to say what was wrong before the final? I didn’t. Commentators that I had (Renee Staub and Tod Woodbrige) saw it and said stright away that something happened when she tried to reach one of the balls and it was in front of their very boxes, those tinted windows behind base line. I guess they were the closest one to her at that moment. I saw it too and I wouldn’t say anything about injury myself before the final. Quite OK to me.


Wog boy Says:

nadalista,

mine 1:42 am post had nothing to do with Vika it was to support your Rafae Nadal part of your post. You didn’t get it, doesn’t matter.

Mine 1:55am post is how I saw it, Azarenka thing.


nadalista Says:

Wog boy,

Sorry………you are right, I did not “get” your post.

Red mist over the Vika “thang” took over……….


Wog boy Says:

That is OK, no need to be sorry.


Wog boy Says:

Margot,

If Li Na’s FH is working the way it did today then Vika is in big trouble, but it doesn’t work always. She enforced herself on Maria and pushed he further behind BL and that was the end for Maria.


Margot Says:

Wog Boy
I really like Li Na. She is a smallish woman with a huge game and, win or lose, stands out from the crowd.


Wog boy Says:

Margot,

She is very likeable, no question about it.


moam Says:

It was a tough turn of affairs for Serena but I still thought she would make it to the finals and probably win. But she is human.
I still think she is the best female player on this planet.
http://martinstake128.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/serena-2013-australian-open-maybe-it-just-happened-again/

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1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
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