MADRID (AFP) –
World number one Serena Williams withstood a sterling effort from 30-year-old wildcard Anabel Medina Garrigues to book her place in the Madrid Open semi-finals with a 6-3, 0-6, 7-5 victory on Friday.
Williams had cruised through to the last eight without so much as dropping a set and she did enough to edge a tight opening set against the World No. 63 with just the one break of serve when Garrgues was serving at 3-4 down.
However, it was the Spaniard who blew Williams away in the second as she charged into the 15-time Grand Slam winner’s serve to break three times and was never under any pressure on her own serve as she amazingly took the set 6-0.
Williams appeared to have regained control early in the third as she got off to a 2-0 lead, but Garrigues came soaring back again and broke in successive games to move ahead 4-2.
With victory in sight though, Garrigues faltered as she gifted the break straight back before the next three games went with serve.
And Williams made the final and decisive break when she pounced on a weak second serve to power a backhand down the line and go 6-5 in front before holding to love to set up a semi-final meeting with Sara Errani or Ekaterina Makarova.
The American hadn’t dropped a set all tournament until the Spaniard romped through the second set and Williams admitted she had to fight to up her intensity levels heading into the decider.
“I think it was definitely a battle. That’s the way to describe it. I obviously didn’t do much in the second set, and I think I gave her a lot confidence to play better,” she said.
“I wasn’t really there. I wasn’t really in it. My feet weren’t moving. I don’t know what happened.
“To turn it around I got up earlier on the changeover and started doing high knees and just stretching and doing anything to try to get my intensity back up where it needed to be.”
In an uncharacteristically wild performance, Williams racked up nearly 50 unforced errors throughout the nearly two and a quarter hours of play, and she is determined to start afresh in the semi-finals on Saturday.
“I definitely want to cut back on my unforced errors. I had a lot unforced errors today.
“Also, I went for a lot more today than I have been in my past few matches so I think I’m going to go back to the way I have been playing and being more calm and not making as many errors as I did today.
“The fact is I was able to get through it. Tomorrow I start out at 0-0, so it’s important for me to let it go and just play a new match tomorrow.”Published 10 May 2013, 18:09 IST