Doha, Qatar (Sports Network) - By virtue of a quarterfinal victory Friday,
Serena Williams will reclaim the world No. 1 ranking for the first time in 2
1/2 years and also become the oldest-ever woman to hold down the top spot.
A second-seeded Williams overcame seventh-seeded Czech slugger Petra Kvitova
3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in one of her trademark comebacks in 2 hours, 7 minutes to reach
the semifinals at the $2.369 million Qatar Open. The powerful American swatted
14 aces and tallied four service breaks, compared to three breaks for her
Williams fought back from a 1-4 deficit in the third set and finished off
Kvitova with an emphatic ace.
"I don't know how I did it -- I really don't know," Williams said. "I just
hung in there and she was playing so well. Every time I looked around she was
hitting a winner. I just tried to stay in there."
The 31-year-old Williams replaces fellow American great Chris Evert as the
oldest-ever No. 1. Evert held the spot when she was just shy of her 31st
birthday in 1985.
"I'm so sensitive nowadays, I'm always crying!" Williams said as she fought
back tears. "I never thought I would be here again. I've just been through so
much and never thought I'd be here again."
The reigning Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion Williams will ascend to the top
of the rankings when they are released on Monday. Her semifinal opponent on
Saturday will be two-time Qatar Open champion Maria Sharapova.
The high-flying Williams has now won 59 of her last 62 matches, which also
includes titles at the Olympic Games and WTA Championships. She will begin her
124th non-consecutive week as the No. 1 player in the world next week.
Meanwhile, current world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and the former top-ranked
Sharapova joined Williams in the Doha final four on the hardcourts at
Khalifa International Tennis Complex.
The Australian Open champion and reigning Qatar Open titlist Azarenka whipped
sixth-seeded French Open runner-up Sara Errani 6-2, 6-2, while a third-seeded
Sharapova subdued eighth-seeded former U.S. Open champ Samantha Stosur 6-2,
6-4. Azarenka beat Stosur in last year's Doha finale.
Sharapova will meet Williams for a 13th time on the WTA circuit, with Williams
holding a dominant 10-2 lead in their lifetime series. The American has beaten
her Russian rival nine straight times, dating back to 2005. Sharapova last
beat Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final.
The 2013 Qatar Open winner will claim $426,000.
The Sports Network