In a shocking semifinal in the Madrid women’s event, heavy favorites Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova were both bottled up on the same day in straight sets by Petra Kvitova and Svetlana Kuznetsova, respectively.
Kuznetsova, who had battled through two third set tiebreak wins, pulled the first upset beating countrywoman and defending champion Sharapova concisely 6-2, 6-4.
“I feel very happy, it was a very tough match,” Kuznetsova said. “I was playing good, serving good – everything was working well.”
Sharapova hadn’t lost to Kuznetsova in seven years.
“Today she had much more pop on her ball than I did, while I felt my shots were a bit too flat,” Sharapova said. “I also think the court and the bounce, with the altitude here, meant her spin was getting really high.”
Would Serena restore order? The World No. 1 went into the match a perfect 25-0 this year, winning 27 straight overall and 50 in a row at the Premier Mandatory level. And she was 5-0 against Petra Kvitova, who does her best week on faster courts. But the Czech pulled through rather easily 6-2, 6-3 in just 73 minutes.
“Yeah, I think she just played well today,” Serena said. “I mean, she went for broke on every serve, every return. I hit some second serves, 170, 175, and she just hit them for winners. I was very slow off the mark. After my serve I wasn’t moving as well as I should have. You know, I wasn’t in it.
“I wasn’t Serena today. I think that was the main thing.”
Kvitova had skipped March due to exhaustion, and now she stands on the brink of one of her biggest titles.
“For sure I’m happy I won today,” Kvitova said. “I had never beaten her, so it’s a really special moment for me.”
Kuznetsova, a former French Open champion, and Kvitova had met four times before with Petra winning three.
“Petra is a great player. I’m just happy to be in the final and will prepare and try to do my best tomorrow,” said Kuznetsova who beat Kvitova 9-7 in the third at the French Open last year.
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