France's Virginie Razzano posted a stunning upset victory over reigning Wimbledon champion Venus Williams to win the women's singles title at the Japan Open tennis tournament yesterday.
The French fifth seed, fresh from winning her maiden career title at Guangzhou, China, last weekend, secured back-to-back victories after a 4-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 win over the world No. 8.
"I'm very tired," were the first words Razzano said after the match. "Because we played a lot in two weeks, we played in Seoul and Guangzhou, and here we played five more matches."
"I'm very happy to win today, it's my second title, it's very good," she said.
Williams missed four break points in the opening game, but capitalized on three Razzano forehand errors to break in the ninth game before taking the set.
The American hit two double faults at 40-40 to go 1-3 down in the second set and then 3-5, saving one set point in the eighth game before winning the following four games in a row to lead 6-5.
But Razzano never gave up and scored a timely break to force a tie-breaker, and, although she had to save three match points against her, a Williams double fault gave her an 8-7 lead before making it one set all.
Williams had to come back from a service break down twice in the final set, but the American again hit two double faults to give a 30-40 break point to Razzano. A forehand error from the American led her to go 4-5 down.
The two-hour, 49-minute match ended shortly afterwards when Williams hit a forehand into the net on Razzano's first match point.
"It was complicated for me," Razzano said of the match points in the tie-breaker. "Because I have three match points against me, but I have good concentration to play at this moment for not losing the match."
"And I played my best at this moment, tried to play simple with aggression, and after that I played good points and I came back. It was good suspense," she said.
Williams said: "She made her shots good at the right moment, so congratulations to her."
Razzano picked up the winner's cheque of US$25,840 on only her third appearance in a final and her first win over Williams in three encounters.
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