Swiss teen shocks Wil­liams to reach Toronto fi­nal

The China Post - - SPORTS -

World No. 1 Ser­ena Wil­liams was sent crash­ing out of the WTA Rogers Cup af­ter be­ing up­set by Swiss teen Belinda Ben­cic in a three-set marathon semi­fi­nal on Satur­day.

The 33-year-old Wil­liams, a 21 Grand Slam win­ner, suf­fered just her sec­ond loss of 2015 as the old­est and youngest play­ers in the draw clashed in a tense two-hour, 28-minute show­down.

Ben­cic, 18, stormed from be­hind to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, snap­ping Wil­liams’ 14- match win streak in Toronto to book her spot in Sun­day’s fi­nal against sec­ond seed Simona Halep.

Ben­cic closed out the con­test on her first match point by smash­ing a fore­hand win­ner to the open court. Ben­cic bent over and cov­ered her face with both hands as she soaked in the big­gest vic­tory of her blos­som­ing ca­reer.

“I can’t de­scribe the right now,” said Ben­cic.

“I was very over­whelmed from the sit­u­a­tion on the court, but I’m just so happy the fore­hand landed

feel­ing in and she couldn’t reach it any­more.

“It was an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing. I have no words.”

Ben­cic is the youngest player to beat Wil­liams in a com­plete match since the Amer­i­can lost to a 17-year-old Maria Shara­pova in the fi­nal at Wim­ble­don in 2004. Ben­cic, who also has Slovak cit­i­zen­ship through her par­ents, was just two years old in 1999 when Wil­liams won her first ma­jor ti­tle.

“I think I played re­ally crappy to­day,” Wil­liams said. “I played like an am­a­teur to be hon­est.”

Ben­cic has won 20 of her last 24 matches, beat­ing two top 10 ranked play­ers (No. 5 Caro­line Woz­ni­acki and No. 6 Ana Ivanovic) to reach the semis.

The loss casts some doubt into Wil­liams’ pur­suit of her fifth Grand Slam ti­tle in a row as she at­tempts to com­plete a cal­en­dar year Grand Slam by de­fend­ing her ti­tle at the U.S. Open, which be­gins Aug. 31.

A U.S. Open crown would give her 22 Grand Slams, match­ing St­effi Graf for the most in the Open era.

She pulled out of the Stan­ford tour­na­ment last week with an el­bow in­jury but said af­ter her quar­ter­fi­nal vic­tory in Toronto that it was no longer a prob­lem.

Wil­liams had won in Toronto in her last two ap­pear­ances in 2011 and 2013.

But she

looked

slug­gish

at times in the semi­fi­nal, fail­ing to run down balls in the open court and of­ten turn­ing in frus­tra­tion to­wards the stands to speak with her coach Pa­trick Mouratoglou. She won four straight to make it re­spectable in the third set but her come­back fell short.

AP

Belinda Ben­cic, left, of Switzer­land, is con­grat­u­lated by Ser­ena Wil­liams af­ter she de­feated Wil­liams, of the United States, dur­ing the Rogers Cup semi­fi­nal ten­nis tour­na­ment in Toronto, Satur­day, Aug. 15.

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