Unheralded Aravane Rezai thrust herself into contention as a Roland Garros threat on Sunday with a stunning 6-2, 7-5 victory over Venus Williams to win the Madrid Masters after a week-long, giant-killing run.
The upset in just under one and three-quarter hours marked the biggest success in the career of the 23-year-old Frenchwoman, whose previous two WTA titles were in Strasbourg and Bali.
Sunday’s victory was Rezai’s third major triumph this week after knocking out former number one players Justine Henin in the first round and Jelena Jankovic in the quarters.
Williams, who was chasing a 44th career crown, was run down in the 27-minute opening set and was unable to take advantage of a 4-1 lead in the second. Instead of folding and saving strength for a deciding third set, Rezai, who hits every ball with brute force, managed to claw her way back, saved a Williams set point in the eighth game and five more a game later to hold for 5-all.