January 27, 2010

Comeback Queen: Serena defeats Azarenka!

Defending champion Serena Williams staged another classic comeback in defeating Victoria Azarenka in quarterfinal action at the Australian Open. Serena Williams lost the first set and was down two breaks of serve against Azarenka until she rallied to win five straight games to get herself back on track for a 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 win.

``I'm surprised. I didn't expect to win when I was down 0-4. I was like, 'Oh well, at least I'm still in doubles,''' said Williams, who admitted she'd even started thinking about the trip home. ``I was actually thinking - it wasn't a champion's thought - if I lose today and I don't win in doubles, I guess I can catch a flight on Friday. ``That's not what you're supposed to think but that's what I was thinking.''

Azarenka wilted in their quarterfinal here last year, retiring in the second set with a virus after taking the first set off Serena Williams. This time, the 20-year-old Belorussian was undone by a trademark comeback from Williams, who is the only player to save match points on the way to three Grand Slam titles. She did it at Wimbledon last year and at the 2003 and 2005 Australian Opens.

The 11-time Grand Slam champion has rallied when the odds are seemingly stacked against her, which has helped Williams win the Australian title each odd-numbered year since beating sister Venus in the 2003 final. Serena's semifinal opponent will be Na Li of China who defeated Venus Williams in three sets earlier in the day. Azarenka looked as if she'd continue the Williams family woes. She broke the four-time Australian Open champion Serena in the opening game and then, after fending off three break points, held her own opening serve in a game that lasted more than 15 minutes and went to deuce nine times. (Up until this match, Serena had not dropped served throughout the first four rounds).

While trailing 6-4, 4-0, Serena received a FedEx package (which included her serve and her game) and it could not have come at a better time. From that point on, Serena started her comeback - winning five straight games and then getting on top again at the end of the tiebreaker. Williams dominated the third set, converting both her breakpoint chances. Serena hit 57 winners to Azarenka's 22, served 17 aces to Azarenka's one. Victoria Azarenka committed 24 unforced errors to Serena's 38. Serena may be down but NEVER out! She keeps proving herself (match and mental toughness) time and time again. All hail the QUEEN! You will believe! (lol)


Karen said...

Boy, Serena was not going to let another girl make her name off beating her in a major. She stepped it up and did her thing. Queen Serena. Absolutely awesome performance.

monika said...

Well, well, well Serena answered the questions of those who thought that Azarenka would've beat Serena last year if she hadn't got sick. This is just another example of many that proves that Serena is the real #1 and Queen of the court! It looks like Serena is going to the finals with Henin. I hope that she completely dominates Henin because I am sick & tired of hearing how good Henin is! YUCK!