The major upsets continued today at Wimbledon with faves Venus Williams + Kim Clijsters getting shown the door in their quarterfinal matches.
The 5-time champ was all out of sorts today and went down with shocking ease to unseeded Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2, 6-3 - her worst lost EVAH at the All England Club. V never looked comfortable on court and couldn't cope with the Bulgarian's crafty play as evidenced by her stats including 22 winners/29 UEs, 57% first serve and 5 double faults. Tsveta used great variety in her shots which gave the American little in terms of rhythm and brought V forward into the court only to pass her. Smart playing for sure.
Though she credited her opponent, V believed she was her own worst enemy out there during this disappointing loss:
Q. She played well, obviously, but some of the errors were not as a result of her good play.This loss was all the more shocking because of the easy scoreline, particularly on V's fave surface. Tsveta played solidly, yes, but V couldn't find the court with any of her shots. Plus, her footwork was lackadaisical and she seemed confused about what to do at the net. It was the V of old and not the one who's been playing consistent ball this season and who reached the second spot in the rankings behind sister Serena. Strange stuff.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, I felt like she played solid. But, I mean, you know, if I hadn't contributed to her effort, I'm not sure that it would have gone as well. So I definitely made too many contributions today to her.
Q. Obviously you've played mostly great matches all year. You have had a handful of these. You say you have to stop having these. What can you do during the match to fight this off?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's important to stay in the moment. I think sometimes when you miss some shots you get caught up in the ones you miss, not the ones you need to make.
Obviously I expect a lot from myself. Of course, I'm disappointed if I'm not playing the tennis I think I can play. It's important to stay in that moment, and that's not always easy.
And let's be honest: she hasn't really made an impact at any of the other majors besides Wimby in years and she now has gone two years without lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish. If she isn't winning here, where can she then?
Kimmie was also expected to reach the final four with relative ease after getting by nemesis Justine Henin in the last round. But Vera Zvonareva had other ideas upsetting the Belgian 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in their quarterfinal match. Kimmie made a slew of errors - 36 in fact against 33 winners - while Bepa was solid down the stretch keeping her winner/UE ratio at 23/19 for the match (not to mention converting 4 of 13 break chances.)
So what went wrong for Kimmie? She was asked about her tactics in her post-match presser:
Q. You talked about the adjustments you made against Henin. Were they not there today?I really thought after she got past Justine she'd be mentally prepared to go all the way. But maybe that match, which is always an emotional affair between the two, affected the sensitive Kimmie more than she led on. I mean, it was her first win over Justine at a major since the Australian Open in 2002. She may have relaxed just a bit especially against someone she owned 5-0 in the H2H, and Bepa was there to take advantage of the moment.
KIM CLIJSTERS: I think she was good at keeping me under pressure. She hits the ball very hard, flat and deep. It was up to me to try to go for the lines, open up the court a little bit more, especially to her forehand. I was trying to pull her out of the court a little bit.
But, yeah, she was really on top of my game I felt today. I mean, her backhand is her stronger shot. I mean, it's very hard to read the shot. Especially when she goes down the line, it's like a last‑second. You can't even read it.
I was kind of always on my toes, yeah, obviously trying to go to the forehand a little bit more. But it's not easy when the balls are coming from the cross‑court down the line. With the backhand I was trying to go down the line before she would.
But, yeah, I mean, I was trying to, like I said, go for the lines. But it's not easy when they're coming that hard and deep.
So it's Tsvetana Pironkova vs. Vera Zvonareva, and one of these lady ballers will reach their first ever Grand Slam final. And it happens to be at Wimbledon. CRAZY.
Oh yeah, Serena Williams defeated Na Li 7-5, 6-3 and will take on another surprise semifinalist Petra Kvitova, who saved 5 match points and came back from 0-4 down in the decider to beat Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 7-6 (10), 8-6. Mental toughness much? I hope so because she'll need it against ReRe. Trust.
[Photo(s): Getty Images]