Just when you think you have the answers, they change the questions. Today, the greatest female Wimbledon competitor of the last decade took the court against an unseeded opponent. As expected, the match was lopsided. One player controlled things from start to finish, while the other looked like they didn’t belong on the court at all. However, it was not the Wimbledon great who walked off the court all smiles. After competing in the Finals in 8 of the last 10 Wimbledon tournaments, 5-time champion Venus Williams bowed out gracefully after a stunning 6-2, 6-3 loss to 82nd-ranked Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria.
Venus was never able to find as comfort zone. After a 2-2 tie in the first set, Pironkova broke Venus’ serve twice and took 4 straight games to win the set in dominant fashion. Venus took a 2-1 lead in the second set, but was broken once again. Down 5-2 and two match points, she was able to fight her way to another game, but was ultimately beaten on Pironkova’s serve. Commonplace in tennis, the story of the match may have come in the unforced errors count. Venus totaled 29 to Pironkova’s 6. It was the first time Venus lost to a played ranked lower than 80 since she lost to Pironkova in the 2006 Australian Open.
The upsets continued to roll as Vera Zvonareva of Russia rallied to beat 8th ranked Kim Clijsters 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. It marked the first time Zvonareva has defeated Clijsters in six meetings. Despite the fact that this was the first time Clijsters competed at Wimbledon since retiring in 2006, many viewed her as a threat to win. After a victory over Justine Henin on Monday and drawing a familiar opponent, Clijsters appeared to be in good shape. Much like the Venus Williams match, unforced errors may have been the difference between advancing and a flight home. Zvonareva won that battle by posting 19 unforced errors to Clijsters 36.
Tuesdays results make it the first time two unseeded players have reached the women’s semifinals at Wimbledon since 1999. The unseeded Pironkova will face-off against Zvonareva in one of the two match-ups. The other unseeded player, Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, is rewarded with a match with the #1 ranked Serena Williams. Though the remaining draw looks like a favorable one for the remaining Williams sister, today’s results reinforced the idea that anything is possible.
images via Yahoo