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What a game!

Discussion in 'Sports' started by BAK, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Jan 28, 2009
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
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    Serena's stunning come back
    Venue: Melbourne Park Date: 19 January-1 February
    Coverage: BBC Red Button, Radio 5 Live sports extra, BBC Sport website ​

    Second seed Serena Williams produced a gritty display to defeat Svetlana Kuznetsova on Rod Laver Arena and reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

    The American beat the Russian eighth seed 5-7 7-5 6-1 on Wednesday to set up a semi-final against Elena Dementieva.

    Fourth seed Dementieva beat surprise package Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-2.

    Both ties were affected by searing heat in Melbourne, with officials opting to close the Rod Laver Arena roof midway through the Williams-Kuznetsova tie.

    Williams treated the crowd to the latest in what is becoming a production line of remarkable comebacks, having given Kuznetsova the chance to serve for the match in the second set.

    I was having an out-of-body experience, it was so hot

    Serena Williams
    But both players began unsteadily, each losing their serve in unimpressive fashion.

    Kuznetsova, 23, will have been particularly frustrated with her start, brilliantly breaking serve but losing concentration in the aftermath as Williams fought back to assume a 3-2 lead.

    However, the Russian recovered to win the ninth game in some style, breaking an uncharacteristically shaky Williams serve.

    Once again the second seed raised her game to level the set after several testing rallies, but Kuznetsova served out to love magnificently, taking the first set.

    With a stoppage in play to allow the closure of the roof over Rod Laver Arena, Kuznetsova had to endure a 30-minute interruption to her momentum - one that was to prove critical.

    An improvement in the quality of play from both players was immediately noticeable on the resumption of play, but particularly from Williams as fired down her first ace of the match.

    The second set went with serve until the seventh game, where Williams faced down two break points before Kuznetsova's well-placed cross-court shot forced her opponent to hammer the ball into the net.

    Officials closed the Rod Laver Arena roof in a bid to keep players cool
    Kuznetsova had the opportunity to serve for the match, but Williams once more dug deep to convert her third break point as the Russian's nerves took over.

    The American, 27, then found some of her old energy and enthusiasm, first easily holding serve before wrapping up the second set with a delighted scream.

    Williams, cranking up the pressure as the heat subsided with the roof closed, slammed forehand returns past Kuznetsova as the third set got under way.

    Kuznetsova, beaten in all but one of her five previous meetings with Williams, lost her composure in the fourth game, her serve crumbling in the face of the world number two.

    That, coupled with Kuznetsova's failure to take advantage of two break points in the following game, marked the effective end of her resistance.

    "I was in a lot of trouble but I relaxed and I really wanted to fight, to at least go three sets," said Williams.

    "Before I was having an out-of-body experience, it was so hot."

    Kuznetsova insisted she had been "very comfortable" playing with the roof open, and said the decision to close the roof had led to a "big change" in the game.

    Everybody was playing without the roof. Why did they have to close it today?

    Svetlana Kuznetsova
    She added that she had been "angry" to be brought off court to allow the roof to be closed: "Why should I not be? The game was going my way.

    "Everybody was playing without the roof. Why did they have to close it today? I didn't get it and that was why I was angry."

    Playing earlier with the roof open, unseeded Suarez Navarro looked shell-shocked in the conditions as Dementieva raced to a 4-0 first-set lead on the Rod Laver Arena.

    The 20-year-old, who had never previously faced Dementieva, finally snapped into life to hold her serve in the fifth game.

    But in a mammoth sixth game, which involved 11 deuces, Suarez Navarro squandered five break points.

    Though the rejuvenated Spaniard subsequently held her serve again, Dementieva made her four-game advantage pay as she served out for the set.

    Following a lengthy interval for the players to cool down, Dementieva pushed on, though she was far from dominant.

    It gets much hotter on the centre court so I'm glad to have won in two sets

    Elena Dementieva
    The fourth seed's erratic serve should have been punished, but again Suarez Navarro could not convert numerous opportunities to break.

    Both the heat and the Russian proved unforgiving and, though the world number 46 looked increasingly competitive, Dementieva ultimately cruised to victory.

    "It gets much hotter on the centre court so I'm glad to have won in two sets," said Dementieva.

    "The key for the match was to have a good start. She's a very solid baseline player and the plan was to go to the net, be aggressive and finish the point as quick as possible.

    "It was a very tough, physical game and I played really well in the important points, when it was 4-1 in the first set."