Wednesday, April 2, 2014
No. 1 Serena Williams was dealt her worst upset in nearly two years in a 6-4, 6-4 straight-set loss to No. 78 Jana Cepelova in the second round of the Family Circle Cup Tuesday on Daniel Island.
It was the first loss in 28 clay-court matches for the two-time defending Family Circle Cup champion. It's just the third time in her career Williams has lost to a player ranked lower than No. 75 on clay.
“Nothing was really going right,” Williams said. “It wasn't my day. It wasn't meant to be, I don't think.”
Williams fell behind 5-0 less than 20 minutes into the opening set before rallying back to win four straight games. Cepelova halted the charge there and finished the set off serve in the final game.
Down 2-1 in the second set, Williams called a medical timeout to have her left thigh taped. Out of the timeout, Williams regained serve and took three straight games but couldn't sustain long enough to force a third set.
“I don't think I was able to lift my game as much as I'd like,” Williams said. “I tried, but I really couldn't do any more. I tried today, but physically I couldn't give any more.”
Williams finished with a 58 first serve percentage against Cepelova's 81 percent. Cepelova also led in second service won and break points saved.
Williams has seen an increased workload the past two seasons with a full schedule and admitted to being exhausted both physically and mentally after Tuesday's loss.
“I'm really just dead,” she said. “I need some weeks off, which I don't think about tennis and kind of regroup. I've had a long couple years and I'm really a little fatigued.”
Hometown favorite Shelby Rogers turned in a spirited performance but fell 7-5, 7-5 to Daniela Hantuchova Tuesday.
The 21-year-old Daniel Island native led No. 32 Hantuchova, 5-4, in the opening set before stumbling with errors through the end of the set.
“(Hantuchova's) experience showed,” Rogers said. “She was aggressive. She knew exactly what to do on the big points.”
Rogers fell behind 2-0 in the second set but reeled off five straight games and looked to be in prime position to force a tiebreaker set before Hantuchova regained control to take the win.
“I'm glad I put on a good show for the crowd and I'm glad they were here to see how I've improved,” Rogers said. “I try to treat it just like any other match but in reality it's not. Everybody has kind of a hometown tournament and I'm so thankful that this is mine.”
Frankie Mansfield, the sports reporter for the Moultrie News can be seen all around the state following teams to meets, games, and matches. For score updates, breaking sports news, and more follow @fjmansfield on Twitter and like Moultrie News Sports on Facebook.