MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Serena and Venus Williams were sent packing from the women’s doubles at the Australian Open on Tuesday, beaten 3-6 6-4 6-2 by former champions Yan Zi and Zheng Jie of China in the quarter-finals.
The American sisters, unseeded this year, looked on course for victory when they won the first set but were then completely outplayed by the seventh seeds in a match lasting just under two hours.
Zheng and Yan won at Melbourne Park in 2006 and at Wimbledon in the same year but said that their victory over the Williams sisters was perhaps even better.
“I think this one is bigger win for us because they are both very strong in singles and both have big serves,” Yan told Reuters.
“But I think we played very well today and our returns were much better.”
Yan admitted they had not really believed they could win the match against two players who had both been ranked number one in singles.
“First set we thought that they were so strong, so we kept one step back, waiting for the balls to come, but it was not great, so we missed a lot. Second set we moved up a little bit.”
While the Williams sisters tried to bludgeon their way to victory, Zheng and Yan used the angles to great effect, changing the pace and dominating at the net thanks to their superior volleying skills.
“I think this was very important because we can cross at the net and use some lobs,” Yan said.
“We always use this, they play singles, they always hit harder, so it’s different.”
The Chinese will now play 12th seeds Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and Israel’s Shahar Peer in the semi-finals.
It was Serena’s second defeat in the space of a few hours after she lost 6-3 6-4 to Serbian third seed Jelena Jankovic in the singles quarter-finals.
Editing by Ed Osmond