The top half of the draw semi final in Doha saw the biggest shock in a tournament where shocks and surprises were the order of the day from Day 1 of this Premier Level tournament when Alize Cornet, former world number 11 and now ranked 26, overpowered world number 1 Serena Williams to make her first final of the year. Cornet has had a terrific tournament, starting in the first round when the 7th seed, the very in form Simona Halep, retired when trailing 1-6 1-1. The Frenchwoman followed this up with two straight sets wins to get to the semis. Serena had never been past the semis in this tournament and with a bye in the first round and straight sets win in the next two rounds, on paper she seemed destined to play her sister in the final.
Games went with serve in the first set, with Cornet sticking with Williams all the way to the 9th game, when she deservedly broke the American with continued fine shots which outfoxed Williams who was not playing at her best. Cornet held her nerve to take the set 6-4. She then took the first two games of the second set with Serena making an inordinate number of amateurish unforced errors. Williams then held and the ‘come ons’ started loudly, especially when she broke to level at 2-2. The next two games went with serve, when Cornet broke again and held to lead 5-3. With Serena serving to stay in the match, the Frenchwoman had four match points, all of which the American saved until she eventually held for 4-5. Cornet served for the match and, with Serena still playing really carelessly, took the game to love and the set at 6-4. In total, Serena made 35 unforced errors to Cornet’s 11, while the winner stat was 25 to 11 in Serena’s favour.