April 20th, 2008
Charleston, South Carolina
Earlier in the week when the WTA Tour made its stop in Charleston for its annual Family Circle Cup, big names such as Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and defending champion Jelena Jankovic, offered fans an exciting week to come. One match in particular was on the mind's of many, Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova in the Quarter-Finals.
It certainly was the blockbuster of the tournament according to big names. The match went back and forth with Williams taking the first set in a tough battle, 7-5. Sharapova however came back in the 2nd and did her best to keep Serena down with a 6-4 win. The 3rd and final set was all Williams as she rushed to a 5-0 lead before finally ending the match 7-5, 4-6, 6-1. It was their first meeting on clay.
The defending champion, Jankovic fell in the Quarter-Finals to Vera Zvonareva in a shock loss. It was a tough loss that caused Jankovic to begin to tear at the end of the match. The Semi-Finals weren't filled with surprises as Williams defeated a tough opponent in Cornet 7-5, 6-3. Williams was down 4-1 in the first set. Zvonareva defeated Dementieva in a three set contest to make the Finals.
Williams and Zvonareva are no strangers to each other, with their head to head being 4-1. They last met during the 2007 US Open, which Williams won. Serena started strong, winning the first set 6-4, and things seemed to be going her way before she began getting negative and proceeded to make error after error, losing the 2nd Set, 6-3. Williams and Zvonareva were matched evenly in the 3rd set until 3-3 when Williams broke and went on to finish the match strongly 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
It was Williams' 3rd career title on clay and first since 2002 when she won Roland Garros. It was also Serena's 31st career title overall. Williams now moves to 19-1 on the season, with her sole loss coming at the Australian Open. Williams now moves up to number 6 in the world and should next be seen playing in Berlin next month.
In Estoril this week, Maria Kirilenko showed the tennis world that no one should count her out by defeating Iveta Benesova in the Finals, 6-4, 6-2. It was Kirilenko's third career title overall.
Next week, the tour stops for Fed Cup and in both Morocco and Czech Republic.