DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The hope of an all-Williams final at the Dubai Championships ended on the racket of Frenchwoman Alize Cornet on Friday.
The 26th-ranked Cornet scored her first career victory over a No. 1 player when she upset Serena Williams 6-4, 6-4.
"I'm so excited," Cornet said, smiling broadly. "I didn't expect that definitely, and I'm really, really happy and proud of myself.
"She's one — or maybe — 'the' biggest champion of history, and, wow, just thinking that I beat her today."
Earlier in the day, Venus Williams earned her spot in the final when she dominated eighth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-3, 6-2.
Serena Williams, playing in her first tournament since losing in the Australian Open fourth round, offered no excuses. She said her back, which had been hurting in recent weeks, was fine.
"I'm a wee bit embarrassed," said Williams, who started laughing. "She played really well. I just didn't play today.
"I tried, though. I don't think I have made that many errors in a match in I think at least three years, maybe four years."
Williams gave herself a failing grade for being unable to find a winning formula for the match: "I think out of a 10, I was at like a negative 283."
Cornet won the first set when Williams flinched while serving in the ninth game.
Cornet, who reached the Paris Indoors semifinal earlier this month, took advantage of her one-set point in the 10th game with a winning backhand down the line.
The Frenchwoman then jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the second set, but Williams rebounded.
Cornet broke Williams' serve again in the seventh game with a winning forehand down the line.
Williams fought off four match points on her own serve in the ninth game, but Cornet served out the match at love.
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