Ser­ena up­set by Kuznetsova in 3 sets at Mi­ami Open

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Ser­ena Wil­liams had been out of the tour­na­ment for less than 20 min­utes when she climbed into her white Mini Cooper with the checker­board top and pulled away from the play­ers' park­ing lot, fas­ten­ing her seat belt as she drove.

Wil­liams' 20-match win­ning streak at Key Bis­cayne ended Mon­day with a 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-2 loss to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round of the up­set-filled Mi­ami Open.

Wil­liams was bid­ding for her ninth ti­tle in the event and her fourth in a row. But af­ter a gru­el­ing first set that lasted nearly an hour, the 21time Grand Slam cham­pion faded on a swel­ter­ing af­ter­noon. It was her ear­li­est exit at Key Bis­cayne since 2000, when she lost in the fourth round to Jen­nifer Capriati.

"I did the best I could," she said dur­ing a post-match news con­fer­ence that lasted less than three min­utes be­fore she cut it off. "I can't win ev­ery match. These play­ers come out and play me like they've never played be­fore in their lives. I have to be 300 per­cent ev­ery day."

Wil­liams, 34, will re­tain the No. 1 rank­ing, but she hasn't won a tour­na­ment since earn­ing her 69th ti­tle at Cincin­nati in Au­gust.

"She's still No. 1, and she still plays great," Kuznetsova said. "I don't see much to be de­pressed about." A wave of up­sets con­tin­ued on the men's side, too, with No. 2 Andy Mur­ray drop­ping the fi­nal five games against No. 26 Grigor Dim­itrov to lose 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-3.

Mur­ray played in the late af­ter­noon and de­clined to blame the heat, but he com­mit­ted 22 un­forced er­rors in the fi­nal set and 55 to­tal. He was bro­ken six times, in­clud­ing in his fi­nal three ser­vice games.

"I made many more mis­takes than usual, es­pe­cially in the third set," said Mur­ray, a twotime Key Bis­cayne cham­pion. "He was more solid than me."

Mur­ray's elim­i­na­tion leaves the tour­na­ment with­out four of the five top-seeded men. Among them only No. 1 No­vak Djokovic reached the round of 16. The No. 15-seeded Kuznetsova beat Wil­liams with de­fense, re­peat­edly ex­tend­ing points un­til she forced a mis­take. The Rus­sian fin­ished with only 18 un­forced er­rors to 55 for Wil­liams.

In ad­di­tion, Wil­liams' serve was un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally un­re­li­able. She hit 13 aces but also had nine dou­ble faults and was bro­ken six times.

Wil­liams said the 91-de­gree tem­per­a­ture - a record for the date - didn't faze her. "Phys­i­cally I'm fine," she said. "I don't know, I guess I didn't move today. Maybe that was one of the things that didn't work out for me."

Kuznetsova, 30, won Key Bis­cayne 10 years ago and is into the quar­ter­fi­nals for the first time since 2009.

"I'm too old," she told the crowd. "I've been many times on this court. I love be­ing back here, and I'm re­ally happy with my per­for­mance." Also side­lined were No. 3 seed Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska and No. 4 Gar­bine Mugu­ruza. Twotime cham­pion Vic­to­ria Azarenka, seeded 13th, com­mit­ted only 12 un­forced er­rors and de­feated Mugu­ruza 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4). No. 19 Timea Bac­sin­szky elim­i­nated Rad­wan­ska 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

No. 2 An­gelique Ker­ber played past mid­night to elim­i­nate Timea Ba­bos 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.

In other men's play, No. 12 Mi­los Raonic held ev­ery ser­vice game to beat the last Amer­i­can in the men's draw, No. 22 Jack Sock, 7-6 (3), 6-4. Wil­liams lives 90 min­utes from Key Bis­cayne and has long con­sid­ered the event her home tour­na­ment. But the sta­dium was twothirds empty for her match, partly be­cause of weather so un­com­fort­able some spec­ta­tors draped tow­els over their heads seek­ing refuge from the swel­ter­ing sun.

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