Serena, Sharapova stunned, Nadal and Murray into Madrid semis

May 09, 2015 | 09:52
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Serena Williams's stunning 27-match winning streak was snapped in resounding fashion by Petra Kvitova as the Czech progressed to the Madrid Open final 6-2, 6-3.

Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova returns a ball to Russian tennis player Svetlana Kuznetsova during the Madrid Open tournament in Madrid, May 8, 2015. (Photo: AFP/Dani Pozo)

Serena Williams's stunning 27-match winning streak was snapped in resounding fashion by Petra Kvitova on Friday (May 8) as the Czech progressed to the Madrid Open final 6-2, 6-3.

Kvitova will face Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova in Saturday's final after she also pulled off a big upset in beating defending champion Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-4. However, there was no such upset for home favourite and four-time champion Rafael Nadal as he moved into the semi-finals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Grigor Dimitrov.

Andy Murray is also safely into the semi-finals for the first time in Madrid on clay as he overcame a hobbled Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-5.

Kvitova has only recently returned to the tour following a two-month break after admitting to feeling physically and mentally exhausted, but she looked the fresher player in wrapping up victory in just over an hour on court.

"I was very slow off the mark. After my serve I wasn't moving as well as I should have. I wasn't in it, I wasn't Serena today," said Williams.

After a tight start, Wimbledon champion Kvitova reeled off four consecutive games from 2-2 to take the first set and then moved 5-1 up in the second.

Williams had battled back from three match points down against Victoria Azarenka on Wednesday and ensured a nervy end for Kvitova by getting one of the breaks back to close to 5-3. However, there was to be no repeat of the 19-time Grand Slam champion's heroics earlier in the week as Kvitova broke again on her first match point to seal her first victory over Williams in six attempts.

"I had never beaten her, so it is special day for me and I am happy it is in a semi-final here in Madrid so I can play the final," said Kvitova.


Kuznetsova also kept her fairytale return to form going as she scored her first victory over Sharapova in seven years to reach her first premier mandatory final since 2009.

"This week I was fighting. I was a little bit lucky in some moments," said Kuznetsova.

Defending champion Sharapova was the heavy favourite to reach the final for a third consecutive year with the 29-year-old Kuznetsova having spent nearly six hours on court in the past two days to reach the last four.

However, it was the two-time Grand Slam champion who dictated from the off and didn't drop her serve once in the match.

"I don't think it caught me by surprise. I'm playing in a semi-final of a tournament, you have to be ready for it. She was just the better player," said Sharapova.

Nadal had warned that his form on the clay after failing to win a title since the European season began in Monte Carlo and Barcelona would be put to the test by Dimitrov and the Spaniard looked back to his old self on his favoured surface.

The world number four constantly put the Dimitrov serve under pressure as he had break points on every one of the Bulgarian's service games in the first set and converted three of them. Dimitrov went up an early break in the second, but Nadal roared back to win five of the last six games and set up a semi-final meeting with Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych.

Sixth seed Berdych saved a match point in the second set before seeing off giant American 16th seed John Isner 3-6, 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/1).

"I played a complete match, apart from two games in the second set when my intensity dipped a little, said Nadal. "I am very happy, very satisfied and it is a great result to be in the semi-final. I have passed an important test."

One break in each set was enough to continue Murray's perfect start to the clay court season after winning his first tournament on the surface earlier in the week in Munich.

Raonic has withdrawn from Rome next week and seemed to still be struggling with the foot problem that forced him to pull out of the Monte Carlo Masters last month as Murray used a series of drop shots to good effect.

"Certainly (his injury) altered the way I played the match a little bit," said Murray. "I felt when I was serving I played the match well. I made him do a lot of moving. He seemed to be moving okay from side to side, but it was moving forward that was causing him the issues."

The Scot will face either Kei Nishikori or David Ferrer in Saturday's semi-finals.


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