Re: Venus Whips Out the Water Color and Blue Hair To Claim Daphne
The Tale of Venus' Singles Career in Australia....
Chapter 1: First Trip To Australia
It all began in 1998. Venus' first trip to Australia was to play the Tier II in Sydney. The second round of the event saw her overcome cramping to capture her first victory of world #1 and the same girl who beat her in the US Open Final, Martina Hingis. Venus carried the form through to the Final where she would come up short against Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.
Melbourne: Venus cruised her way to the QFs beating sister Serena, Amelie Mauresmo, and Patty Schnyder all in straight sets. She would then face off against Lindsay Davenport. Venus was playing well, but her first time playing in the Australian Open ended in disappointment as she lost in a tight 3 setter. The disappointment would turn to complete joy as she won her first slam a few days later by winning the Mixed with Justin Gimelstob.
Chapter 2: The Bead Controversy of 1999
Venus came to Australia once again with the intent of using Sydney as her warm-up. Venus got a 1st round bye and defeated her bitch Amanda Coetzer in straights sets to advance to the QFs. Steffi Graf awaited and eventually sliced past Venus 6-4 in the third.
Melbourne: Venus avoided immediate trouble in Round 1 against Silivija Talaja as she came through with the 9-7 third set victory. She kept her game together in the next 3 rounds as she eased past Svensson, Dragomir and Chanda Rubin. The QFs saw Venus once again come up against Lindsay Davenport. Trailing a break in the second, Venus got a point penalty for beads falling. Venus lost it as she screamed for the tournament referee to come to the court. Venus said how it wasn't in her control, but still had a free point given to Lindsay. Venus couldn't regroup as Lindsay sailed away 6-4 6-0.
Chapter 3: Wrist Injuries keep Venus out of Australia
Venus withdrew from Australian events in the start of 2000 with wrist tendinitis in both wrists. She came back for the clay season and then dominated from Wimbledon onwards. Venus would capture some Aussie glory though as she won the Singles Gold Medal (along with the Doubles) in the Sydney Olympics. She overcame the strong tests of Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and fellow American Monica Seles to get into the Gold Medal Match. She was pitted against Elena Dementieva. Venus came through to win her first ever Gold 6-2 6-4. She was all smiles as she flung around the US flag and later held up her gold medal with pride, and had a repeat moment when she won the doubles gold the next day with Serena.
Chapter 4: Flat As Hell
Venus was clearly still feeling the effects of her 50 match win streak in a 6 month span at the end of the 2000 season and it showed. She did not play a warm-event in singles, but played doubles in Sydney and lost R1 with Serena to Hingis/Seles.
Melbourne: Venus clawed her way to the SFs not on good play, but on confidence and fight alone. Her play was patchy throughout the entire event as she needed 3 sets to defeat Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, Amelie Mauresmo, and Amanda Coetzer, the latter going to 8-6 in the third. Martina Hingis just needed to keep the ball in in the SF as Venus tried to go for too much and keep the points short, ending the rallies mostly with errors. Venus did not leave Melbourne empty handed though as she won the doubles with Serena, completing the Career Golden Grand Slam.
Chapter 5: Aussie Open Great, Monica Seles, Pulls Off First Win Over Venus
2002 saw Venus play a warm-up again, this time in the first week of the season in Gold Coast. Venus kept her game in check as she survived the great play of Nadia Petrova in the SFs and Justine Henin in the Final. This was Venus' 2nd Singles title in Australia.
Melbourne: Venus' level was up and down as she played in Melbourne. She was carrying a knee injury, but still found ways to get the victories over Cargill 6-2 6-2, Brandi 6-3 6-4, Hantuchova 3-6 6-0 6-4, and Maleeva 6-0 6-3 to advance to the Aussie Open QFs for the 4th time. She looked particularly sluggish against Hantuchova. The QFs had Venus come up against 4 time Champ, Monica Seles. This was a highly competitive match as Monica was playing some of her best tennis and Venus was at a top level at this time. Venus did seem to struggle a bit, but Venus had a glimmer of hope in the form of 3 break back chances to level up the third set to 4-4, but Monica saved each break point with some big hitting and ran away with the match. Monica's level was too high for Venus to handle on that day, edging Venus 6-7(4) 6-2 6-3.
Chapter 6: The Runner-Up Tale
Venus came into the Australian Open with no preparation in 2003. No warm-up events whatsoever. It did not matter though because she continued her amazing form from 2002 into the 2003 Melbourne event. Venus took on Svetlana Kuznetsova in the 1st round. The first set was close in Vee's first match of 2003, but once Venus got that under her belt it was smooth sailing to a 6-4 6-2 victory. Cargill, Barna, and Nicole Pratt put up little resistance as Venus did not lose more than 5 games in any of the matches. In the QFs, Venus went up against Daniela Hantuchova, a repeat of the R3 clash from the year before. Venus did not need three sets this time though, as she overpowered Daniela and won the big points to close her out 6-4 6-3. The SFs would see Venus clash with Justine Henin. Venus brushed her aside and outdid her in every aspect of the game. By far one of Venus' best matches played in Melbourne. Venus cruised her way to the Final where she would take on sister Serena for a 4th straight slam. This was the most competitive of the 4 slam final matches. Serena narrowly took the first set in a tiebreak. Vee was able to get that necessary break in the second set to take it 6-3. The third set was a sight affair. Venus even had a break opportunity at 4-4 to serve for the title, but it wasn't meant to be as Serena saved it and won the match to win the Serena Slam. This amazing 2003 run was Venus' best chance, to date, in Melbourne to win the Daphne, but it was not meant to be her moment. The day before the Singles Final, Serena and Venus teamed up to win their 2nd Australian Open doubles title, showing that there was no bad blood between them heading into the Final the next day....at least yet.
Chapter 7: Rocky Return
Venus returned to tennis action in 2004 to play the Hong Kong Tennis Classic after being out since Wimbledon. Venus showed great promise though as she eased to the title in dominant fashion after wins over Chanda Rubin and Maria Sharapova. Venus continued her dominant form in her matches against Harkleroad and Dushevina. Venus rolled her ankle while playing Harkleroad in the 1st round, which was the only scare she had during the match as she won 6-2 6-1. Dushevina gave her a bit more of a run for her money, but Venus prevailed 6-4 6-2. Venus took on her known bitch Lisa Raymond. But Venus picked the wrong day to have an off day; errors flying from Venus' racket, foot faults galore called and good tennis from Lisa saw Venus leaving Melbourne in the 3rd round upset 6-4 7-6(5). Venus had high expectations to do well here, and her draw looked good for at least a Semifinal clash with Kim Clijsters, but instead it was Patty Schnyder coming out of that quarter of the draw.
Chapter 8: Aussie Molik takes Venus Out at Home
Venus showed some great promise for Melbourne in the 2005 Hong Kong Tennis Classic as she dug deep to pull out tough and tight 3 set victories over Kuznetsova and Zvonareva. She lost to Dementieva tamely though. Her draw in Melbourne looked good to set up a clash with Lindsay Davenport in the QFs. Venus cruised through her opening round of Eleni Daniilidou, 6-1 7-5. Shuai Peng in the 2nd round would also prove to be no match for Venus this week as Vee sailed 6-3 6-1. In the 3rd round, Venus as expected to be tested by Anna Smashnova, who is known for her never give up attitude and retrieval skills. Venus made quick work of her though 6-3 6-0. Hopes were high that Venus could potentially do some good this event after 3 convincing victories. It ended there though, as the red hot Alicia Molik continued her amazing 2004 form and took Venus out 7-5 7-6(3).
Chapter 9: 65 Unforced Errors Does Venus in, Upset in Opener
Venus entered the 2006 Hong Kong Classic for the 3rd time. She did not have the same luck as she did the two years prior though as she got dismantled by Lindsay Davenport. Venus continued her bad form into the Australian Open. Venus had a good looking draw, but Venus would not capitalize on it due to making 65 unforced errors against Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova. Venus had disposed of Tsvetana easily the year before in Istanbul and looked to be doing the same here when Vee brushed her aside 6-2 in the first set. But errors started flowing for Venus. Venus fought to stay alive despite the errors, even getting the opportunity to serve for the match at 6-5, but the errors continued to do her in. Pironkova squeaked out the win 2-6 6-0 9-7. Venus' body was struggling in the start of the season though. A back injury in Hong Kong, thigh taped during the Pironkova match and would not play again until Warsaw due to wrist and elbow injuries.
Chapter 10: Left Wrist Injury Leaves Venus at Home Instead of Melbourne
The end of the 2006 season saw Venus skip the US Open due to a left wrist injury and play Luxembourg. While in Luxembourg, Venus aggrevated her injury and later had surgery forcing her to miss the Australian Open. Venus had intended to also play Hopman Cup before the Australian Open, but the wrist was not healthy yet and she withdrew from both. This would be the last year of the Rebound Ace in Melbourne, leaving the dreadful Pironkova match to be Venus' last memory of playing on the surface. Venus would be back to action a month later to play and win the title in Memphis.
Chapter 11: HotMessnus Goes Down Down Under to Squeakers
Venus showed great form in the usual Hong Kong prep in 2008, winning the singles title by beating Dementieva and Sharapova in straight sets and then also the doubles title with Caroline Wozniacki. Venus then flew to Melbourne to face Zi Yan in the first round. Venus continued her form from Hong Kong to crush Yan 6-2. But then Venus' game started to become erratic. She would close Yan out 6-2 7-5, but the tennis was not as clean as the first set. Venus continued to struggle as she had tight matches with Camille Pin 7-5 6-4, Sania Mirza 7-6(0) 6-4, and Marta Domachowska 6-4 6-4. Venus had not lost a set through the event thus far, but her form was shaky. Errors and struggled to be able to hit through the court with conviction. In the QFs, Venus would play Ana Ivanovic for the 3rd straight slam. Ana came prepared this time though as she started taking it to Venus, who had been carrying a slight thigh injury that needed taping. Venus fought back from 2-4 down to take it to a tiebreak, but Ana capitalized on Vee's errors to win it 7-6(4). Venus started to get her game together and play aggressive to lead 3-0, but Ana ran away with it in the end 6-4. Ana was the one playing confident aggressive tennis throughout and it payed off with the upset victory over Venus.
Chapter 12: The Grand Upset in Melbourne to a Spanish Man
Venus strolled through the tough competition in Melbourne of Jankovic and Zvonareva in straight sets. Proving to be a huge favorite to finally winning the Daphne after winning Wimbledon and Tour Championships in Doha last season. Venus started off the event strong with a straight set win over Angelique Kerber, 6-3 6-3. Venus showed some great form in patches throughout that match. The second round was the night match against Carla Suarez Navarro. Venus cruised through the first set 6-2 before losing the second set 6-3. Venus took a commanding lead of 5-2 before collapsing. Venus had a match point at 5-4 on Vee's serve, but hit the tense backhand return long. Venus then fell apart losing 7-5 in the third. Venus was too complacent to rally with Carla, who stuck around behind the baseline, getting everything back, waiting for the moment to capitalize with her top spin game. And Venus also refused to be aggressive at time and hit backhands down the line. Venus had entered doubles with Serena though and won the title to make up for her disappointing singles loss.
Chapter 13: The Chinese Choke Job
Venus entered the Hong Kong Tennis Classic to kick start her 2010 season and she beat Wozniacki and Jie Zheng. Venus showed solid form to take down Lucie Safarova 6-2 6-2. The 2nd round saw Venus come up against Sybille Bammer. As the sun started to set over the court, Venus struggled to close Sybille out. Errors flying, but Venus reigned it in for 6-2 7-5 victory. Venus had another 2nd set scare in R3, this time against Casey Dellacqua. Venus struggled on Laver under the sun, but once again pulled through 6-1 7-6(4) with a slicing serve out wide to close it out. The 4th round saw Venus take on Francesca Schiavone. Venus started off so slow and sluggish, losing the first set 6-3. Venus fought though and her game slowly came together, which ended up being too much for Franny to handle as Vee walked away with the 3-6 6-2 6-1 win. In the QFs, Venus took on Na Li of China. Venus was taking it to her with beautifully aggressive tennis until she was close to the finish line. 6-2 5-3 lead was blown as Venus let up and allowed Na to dictate. Pushnus and ForgotHowToHoldServenus struggled from then on, as Na captured the win 2-6 7-6(4) 7-5. Venus would win the consolation prize of winning the Doubles Title for a 4th time with Serena.
Chapter 14: The Screech Heard Around the World; Psoas Injury Forces Vee to Withdraw
Venus as per usual entered Hong Kong to start her season and did not so well in her singles matches there, understandably due to not playing since the US Open. When she hit the court to play Errani in the 1st round though it all changed. Venus played arguably her best match on plexicushion. Her inside out forehand was a monster, hitting winner after winner. Venus would then struggle against Zahlavova. Venus led easy early on, but as we know Venus likes to make things difficult for herself, as it would go to a tiebreak. At 7-6 for Zahlavova, Venus was moving back to hit a backhand swing volley and let out an abnormal screech. She called the trainer and limped off the court. She came back with her upper thigh taped and played through. She was trying not to move and tried to rip the ball and it paid off. Venus cruised through the next 2 sets, 6-0 6-4. Venus' condition was unknown and was set to be the last match on the schedule for her R3 match vs. Petkovic. Venus got through only a handful of points before calling it quits. Venus' 2011 run was ended through injury and kept Venus out until Eastbourne in June.
Chapter 15: Sjogrens is a Bitch as it keeps Venus from Playing Melbourne
Venus was diagnosed with Sjogrens Syndrome in the summer of 2011. She had felt the symptoms since at least 2004. Venus used her time after the US Open to play exhibitions and train to see where her condition was. Clearly she wasn't in good enough form to be ready for the start of the 2012 season as she withdrew from Auckland and the Australian Open. It was tragic, but Venus would arise again for Miami and claw her way back to make 2013 an even bigger year.
Chapter 16: 2013 is the Year for Venus to Shine Brighter Than the Melbourne Sun.
Venus will be making her 13th trip to Melbourne and is looking to finally claim the trophy. Vee is going in as the 25th seed in singles and will be entering doubles with Serena. We can only hope that Venus brings her best tennis for the 13 days of tennis in Melbourne and finally brings home the Daphne to rest in her trophy case. Venus finally starting taking the appropriate steps to taking Melbourne seriously, by entering the Hopman Cup. Venus won all three of her singles matches; wins over Scheepers, Johansson, and Medina Garrigues. The Johansson win saw Venus win ugly and show she still has fight as she came back from 3-6 1-4 down to claim the win. She also won her two Mixed matches with John Isner. She lost the Mixed match with the young Aussie replacement. Venus finally got good Australian prep again since making the final in 2003. She got to play against those that make you hit that one extra ball, plus playing in the heat. It was good preparation for Venus to try to win the Daphne since it is supposed to be extremely hot during the time of the event.
Last edited by Uranium; Jan 7th, 2013 at 11:36 PM.