After a rainout in Day 12, officials and fans were determined to have some tennis played on Saturday. The weather seldom looked like it would cooperate.
The rain broke long enough for the conclusion of the men’s quarterfinal match between Rafael Nadal and Fernando Gonzalez. After a day and a half rest, Nadal came out in better physical shape than when the match began, but Gonzalez looked like he broke under all the pressure. Nadal made all the points to complete the tiebreak and then went on to dominate the 3rd and final set. Nadal will face Juan Martin Del Potro in the semifinals.
The women’s matches did not get started until the evening, when Serena Williams took on Kim Clijsters in the first semifinal match. Many felt this match would be the de facto final of the event. Clijsters, in her 1st major since coming back from taking time off to have a child, showed early on that she was not intimidated by Serena’s power. The two exchanged baseline strokes and blistering serves until Clijsters finally came out on top in the 1st set. Serena smashed her racket on the ground in anger.
Serena started the 2nd set stronger, but was again broken by Clijsters until the match was tied at 5-5. Clijsters held serve and it was up to Serena to hold serve and send it to a tiebreak. Serena was down 15-30 when she was called for a foot fault, making the score 15-40, and giving Clijsters 2 match points. Serena totally lost control and stormed over to the line judge, screaming, pointing, shaking her fist and racket. After she walked back to the service line, she couldn’t stop and went back after the line judge. That was enough, as the tournament officials gave Serena a point penalty, which handed the match to Clijsters.
It was an ugly display, certainly one that hurt Williams’ reputation, and one that should never occur from anyone, much less a champion player. In the post-match press conference, Serena tried to play down the threat (reportedly Williams threatened the line judge by saying she would “take this @$%$^# ball and shove it down your throat and kill you.”) Regardless of what was really said, she absolutely was intimidating and threatening the line judge. On the replays, you can clearly see even the spectators behind the judge were ducking out of the way. It was a disappointing end to what had been a great match.
In the other women’s semifinal, Caroline Wozniacki won in straight sets over Yanina Wickmayer. It is Wozniacki’s first trip to a Grand Slam final.