MADRID: Aravane Rezai blasted her way to the biggest singles title of her career when she stunned fourth-seed Venus Williams 6-2 7-5 to win the Madrid Open.
Rezai rallied from 4-1 down in the second set after winning the first, to take victory in just under one and threequarter hours. Despite the massive shock on the Spanish clay, Williams will still return to the world number two WTA ranking today.
The American, who turns 30 next month, was denied the 10th clay honour of her career by the fighting French challenger ranked 24th. The unseeded Frenchwoman, who beat world number four Jelena Jankovic in the quarter-finals, tried to hit the cover off the ball on almost every shot and won five straight games on clay in the Magic Box arena to seal victory.
It was the third title of her career after triumphs in Strasbourg and Bali last year and sets her up nicely for the French Open starting later this month.