In May at the French Open, Pennetta registered a stunning upset as she defeated Williams in the 3rd round 7-5, 6-3 on the slow clay at Roland Garros.
Today however Williams was thought to have a better chance against the counterpuncher Pennetta; given that the Moscow surface is indoors, a fast surface more suited to the aggressive play of the American. Williams possesses the fastest serve ever in the women's game at a record speed of 129 miles per hour.
Williams finds herself seeking additional rankings points for the year as she has only competed in 12 WTA Tour tournaments and is yet to qualify for the WTA Tour Year End Championships to be played in Doha. Williams, whose lone WTA Tour title this year came at Wimbledon in July, is 7th so far in points in the race to Doha, the tournament of the top 8 WTA Tour players.
And with her loss at Stuttgart to world number one Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in the semifinals Saturday 6-7(8-10), 7-5, 6-2, Williams has now lost two matches in a row.
Eight years ago in her breakthrough year in 2000, Williams won 35 consecutive matches. Williams' run included wins at three of the most prestigious tournaments in tennis: Wimbledon, the US Open and the Olympics. However in October of 2000, Williams missed the remainder of the year due to anemia.
And in more recent years Williams has appeared more fatigued than she had ever before. Last week at Stuttgart, Jankovic complained to the chair umpire Williams was taking too much time in between points. Williams led Jankovic 7-6(10-8), 5-6 before she dropped her serve to lose the set.
This year Williams has won only two of her seven three set matches and appears more beatable in the longer matches than she had in the past. Williams' one title for the year also marks the only time she has not won multiple titles in one year since 1997.
After splitting the first two sets, Pennetta broke serve then held to go ahead 2-0 in the final set. Down 3-5, Williams hit three aces in a row to reach 4-5 before Pennetta held at love to close the match as Williams netted a backhand return on matchpoint. Williams did not help herself much today as she hit 38 unforced errors and seven doublefaults.
The American is scheduled to compete again next week at the Zurich Open in Zurich, Switzerland.
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