Two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova turned the volume to 11, showing her aggressive best in the second and third sets, while Serena Williams looked less than stellar, and possibly injured, in a 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-1 loss on Monday at the Miami Open.
A not-confident-looking Williams made 50 unforced errors to 13 for Kuznetsova, ending the match on a forehand unforced error that she had all the time in the world to set up for, but sailed two feet long.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to criticize my movement right now,” Williams said cryptically after the match, clocking in a second consecutive very short post-match press conference in Miami. “I did the best that I could. My fans, you know, I did the best I could do. I can’t win every match.”
It was the third career win for the Russian over the younger Williams sister.
“I’m sorry fans for the disappointment that she won’t be playing,” said Kuznetsova, who allowed that she didn’t let her friendship with Williams get in the way of a win, speaking to the crowd. “It’s my profession, I play tennis, I have to do my job.”
Also doing their jobs orchestrating upsets on Monday were No. 19 Timea Bacsinszky coming from a set down to oust No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, No. 13 Victoria Azarenka edging No. 4 Garbine Muguruza Blanco 7-6(6), 7-6(4), and No. 30 Ekaterina Makarova topping No. 12 Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-4.
Kuznetsova will meet Makarova in an all-Russian quarterfinal.
Azarenka was out-hit by Muguruza 25 to 42 in the winners category, but used her veteran guile to win the big points, and limited her unforced errors to 19 to the Spaniard’s 40.
“I think it was a high-quality match for both of us,” Azarenka said. “It was a lot of good striking, a lot of winners, and both of us taking opportunities. I think today I served really well, and I played to win in important moments. Momentum shifting, I think I was a little better today.”
Only one of the four Top 10 players in action Monday, No. 5 Simona Halep, moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Brit Heather Watson.
Halep in the quarterfinals will meet Bacsinszky.
“Even when I wasn’t playing quite well in the first set, I told myself, it might be a long match,” said Bacsinszky, who benefited from 11 Radwanska unforced errors in the third set. “So I always tried to get a little more balls in and make her work.”
Azarenka will next meet No. 24-seeded Brit Johanna Konta, who was an easy 6-2, 6-2 winner against No. 32-seeded hacker Monica Niculescu.
In the late match No. 2 seed Angie Kerber beat Timea Babos 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal meeting with No. 22-seeded American Madison Keys, who rolled over Irina Begu 6-3, 6-1.
On court Tuesday in Miami will be (5) Halep vs. (19) Bacsinszky, and (15) Kuznetsova vs. (30) Makarova.
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