Saturday, April 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Williams loses in quarters; Azarenka into semis

Australian Open Tennis

during their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

MELBOURNE, Australia — Serena Williams’ dominating run at the majors is over.

American teenager Sloane Stephens is headed to the semifinals of the Australian Open.

Williams hurt her back in the eighth game of the second set, slowing down her serve, restricting her movement and causing her obvious pain.

But the 19-year-old Stephens kept her composure, blocking out the injury issue on the opposite side of the net, and rallied for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory on Wednesday — by far the most significant in her seven Grand Slams.

It was Williams’ first loss since Aug. 17 for the 15-time Grand Slam winner, ending a run of 20 consecutive wins.

She hadn’t lost a match at a Grand Slam tournament since the French Open, where her first-round exit sparked a resurgence in the second half of 2012 that included titles at Wimbledon, the London Olympics, the U.S. Open and the WTA Championship.

After winning her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, Stephens next plays defending champion Victoria Azarenka.

The No. 29-seeded Stephens had been given barely a chance of beating Williams, who lost only four matches in 2012 and was in contention to regain the No. 1 ranking at the age of 31.

Williams’ latest winning streak included a straight-sets win over Stephens at the Brisbane International earlier this month.

And Stephens wasn’t even sure that she could beat Williams, until she woke up Wednesday.

“When I got up, I was like, ‘Look, Dude, like, you can do this.’ Like, ‘Go out and play and do your best,” she said.

It wasn’t until after losing the first set and being broken in the first game of the second that she really convinced herself she could.

“I was like, ‘Hmm, this is not the way you want it to happen. But you just fight and just get every ball back, run every ball down, and just get a lot of balls in play, I think you’ll be OK.’

“From then on I got aggressive, started coming to the net more, and just got a lot more comfortable.”

She started hitting winners, cutting down on the errors, and pushing the injured Williams around the court.

Williams walked around the net to congratulate Stephens, who then clapped her hand on her racket and waved to the crowd, a look of disbelief on her face.

She then went to her tennis bag, pulled out her phone and started checking for any text messages from her mother.

“I was hoping she had texted me right away. I thought maybe she was texting me during the match,” Stephens said. “I’m sure my grandparents are like freaking out.”

Stephens has said she had a photo of Williams up in her room when she was a child, and had long admired the Williams sisters.

“This is so crazy. Oh my goodness,” Stephens said, wiping away tears in her post-match TV interview. “I think I’ll put a poster of myself (up) now.”

For her part, Williams said the bad back was just another problem to contend with at a Grand Slam event that had been “absolutely” her worst for injuries.

“I’m almost relieved that it’s over because there’s only so much I felt I could do,” she said. “It’s been a little difficult. I’ve been thrown a lot of (curve) balls these two weeks.”

Williams was up a set and a break before Stephens settled in. In the eighth game of the second set, Williams was chasing a drop shot to the net when she appeared to hurt her back. She needed a medical timeout after the set, and then slowly started to regain the speed in her serve.

She her back “just locked up” on her.

“I couldn’t really rotate after that,” she said. “It was a little painful, but it’s OK.”

There were times when she barely concealed the pain, and had to bend over or stretch out her back.

And despite not being able to serve at full speed and being restricted, she only thought about retiring from the match “for a nanosecond.”

But she was clearly frustrated at times, smashing her racket into the court in the third set and then flinging it toward the chairs on the side of the court. She looked to the sky occasionally and yelled at herself.

Stephens had never seen Williams smashing a racket before, just part of an unexpected day.

The gravity of it didn’t strike her until later.

“I was stretching, and I was like, ‘I’m in the semis of a Grand Slam.’ I was like, ‘Whoa. It wasn’t as hard as I thought.’ But it’s pretty cool.

“To be in the semis of a Grand Slam is definitely I say a good accomplishment. A lot of hard work.”

Azarenka, with her most famous fan sitting in the crowd wearing a shirt reminding her to keep calm, overcame some early jitters to beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-1 in the earlier quarterfinal match at Rod Laver Arena.

After dropping serve in a long fourth game that went to deuce 10 times, Azarenka recovered to dominate the rest of the match against Kuznetsova, a two-time major winner who was floating dangerously in the draw with a No. 75 ranking as she recovers from a knee injury.

Azarenka’s American rapper friend, Redfoo, returned from a concert in Malaysia to attend Wednesday’s quarterfinal match.

Wearing a red sleeveless T-shirt that read “Keep Calm and Bring Out the Bottles,” the name of his next single, Redfoo stood, clapped and yelled “Come on, Vika!” during the tight first set.

Asked if it helped to have her No. 1 fan wearing a keep calm logo, Azarenka said “I was looking more at the part that says ‘Bring out the bottles.’”

Of her game, she added, “I’m just glad I could produce my good tennis when it was needed.”

Williams’ loss was a boost for Azarenka, who lost all five head-to-heads against the American in 2012 and is 1-11 in their career meetings.

In the men’s quarterfinals, 17-time major winner Roger Federer was playing No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a night match and U.S. Open champion Andy Murray was to meet Jeremy Chardy of France.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic is still on course in his bid for a third consecutive Australian Open title and is already through to the semifinals, where’ll meet No. 4-seeded David Ferrer of Spain.

On the other half of the women’s draw, Maria Sharapova has conceded only nine games in five matches — a record in Australia — en route to a semifinal against 2011 French Open champion Li Na.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano unemployment inches downward

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Transplant recipients talk about their best gifts

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Fairfield council candidates weigh in on crime

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

Police release name of woman found dead in Fairfield canal

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Spering, Bertani spar over fighting crime

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 32 Comments | Gallery

 
Five homes featured on Symphony Home Tour

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Congregation invites public to Easter music, message

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Local woman helps spread Easter joy

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
Weather for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B13

 
.

US / World

California farmers to get more water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Teen sentenced in Oakland toddler’s killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

More Latino than white students admitted to UC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

From Clinton to Obama, many parallels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

PG&E to be arraigned in fatal pipeline blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Mom and son who died in San Francisco fire ID’d

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

3 alleged gang members convicted of murder

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Colorado deaths stoke worries about pot edibles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

NASA’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Atheist national conference aims at Mormon church

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

Easter on 4/20, pot holy day; pastors reach out

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
Some countries get Obama, but want his wife, too

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Man who avoided prison is overwhelmed by support

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Teen suspended for asking Miss America to prom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

White House updating online privacy policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
SpaceX making Easter delivery of station supplies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Sudden movement raises alarm in Wyoming slide area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
In Egypt, a corruption watchdog hit by backlash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Military scales down, modifies Guam buildup plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Captain of sunken SKorean ferry arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Diplomacy doesn’t move insurgents in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
57-nation OSCE plays key Ukraine monitoring role

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine crisis: The turning points

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
.

Opinion

Here we go again in Sacramento

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

 
Cheers, jeers for the week of April 13-19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Seniors, it’s never too late to do something about your health

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Prince reaches agreement with music label

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

‘The Boondocks’ back for final ‘offensive’ season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

Stratocaster still a favorite at 60

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
.

Sports

Ross, Padres beat Cain and Giants 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
A’s come out swinging to beat Astros 11-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Warriors to start O’Neal for Bogut vs. Clippers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Hertl has impressive playoff debut for Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Warriors and Clippers take dislike to playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Big innings lift Mustangs over Indians

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

’40-and-up club’: Ageless Hopkins after more belts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jimenez shoots 65 to lead Greater Gwinnett field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Solano scores in ninth for 2-1 BVC baseball win over Yuba

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Choi leads rain-delayed RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

NBA’s Silver wants age limit change, no rush on others

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NBA playoffs looking more wide-open than expected

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Source: Grizzlies’ G Calathes suspended for 20 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Mets trade 1B Ike Davis to Pirates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
TNT’s Sager to miss NBA playoffs due to leukemia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
A’s lefty reliever Doolittle gets 5-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment | Gallery

.

Business

Judge says American can’t end retiree benefits yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Mazda recalls 109,000 older SUVs for rust problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

5 features an Amazon phone might offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Home Seller 04/19/14

Summerwood features 8 new homes in Suisun

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2

Real estate transactions for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

Average US 30-year mortgage rate falls to 4.27 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3