The wheels finally came off Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the women's doubles competition at the French Open tennis tournament in Paris on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe's Black and American Huber's fine run at the second Grand Slam tournament of the year came to a screeching halt yesterday when they lost in the semi-finals to the Spanish pair of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual, local media The Herald said on Thursday.
According to reports from Roland Garros in Paris, Black and Huber, who were the top seeds, came unstuck in the last four against number 10 seeds Medina Garrigues and Ruano Pascual who beat them in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) in a match which lasted two hours 16 minutes.
In the final, Medina Garrigues and Ruano Pascual will meet fellow surprise packets, the unseeded pair of Casey Dellacqua of Australia and Italy's Francisca Schiavone who ousted seventh seeds Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 in the other semi-final tie on Wednesday.
And Medina Garrigues and Ruano Pascual must now be fancying their chances of lifting the women's doubles title at this year's French Open after their shock defeat of top seeds Black and Huber in Wednesday's exciting semi-final tie.
After taking the first set 6-4 in 46 minutes, the two Spanish girls looked liked they had lost their concentration in the second, which saw the first three games going with serve before Black and Huber broke their serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead.
But Medina Garrigues and Ruano Pascual refused to be intimidated by their much-fancied opponents as they quickly broke back to reduce the arrears to 2-3.
They then went on to hold serve in the fifth game to level the scores at 3-3 and the game was now alive.
Another break of serve in the seventh game saw the Spaniards taking the lead for the first time in the second set (4-3) before winning the eighth game to stretch their lead to 5-3 and an upset victory was on the cards for them.
But Black and Huber, who were now fighting for survival, took the ninth game to trail 4-5 before winning the next to make it 5-5 as the next two games went with serve, forcing a tie-break.
And there was no stopping Medina Garrigues and Ruano Pascual in the tie-break in which they raked up seven points, losing only two as they sent Black and Huber tumbling out of the tournament.
The second set lasted one hour 30 minutes and the Spanish girls really enjoyed every minute of it as they gave as much as they got against Black and Huber who they left shell-shocked after this match.
Wednesday's defeat to Medina Garrigues and Ruano Pascual left Black and Huber still searching for their first Grand Slam title of the year although they have already won three women's doubles titles on the road this season.
It (the defeat) also saw Black playing no further part at this year's French Open after losing in the second round of the mixed doubles with Australian Paul Hanley earlier this week. Meanwhile, promising young Zimbabwean player Andrew Mawire recently stole the show at the 2008 Vodacom Western Province Open tournament in Cape Town, South Africa.
Mawire displayed tremendous endurance on the first day of the tournament where he won four matches to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament.
The young Zimbabwean, however, failed to play his quarter-final tie against third seed Peter Mojzis of South Africa after he arrived five minutes late for the match, according to local tennis coach Julius Mashonganyika.
(Xinhua News Agency June 6, 2008)