Venus Outgrunts Monica -
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 2002, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Venus Outgrunts Monica

What a wonderful and fantastic quarter Venus & Monica played. As a fan though - I was sticking w/Venus. She usually gets very up when she has to play Monica. And one of the reasons is one she mentioned last night.

She grew up idolizing and copying Monica. She pretended she was on the grass at Wimby w/her. She dreamed of playing her and beating her. Winners dare to dream.

Venus outruns Seles in a loud quarterfinal

By Jerry Magee

November 9, 2002

LOS ANGELES – Growing up, Venus Williams admired Monica Seles so much that she even copied her grunt. Good thing.

The senior of the tennis-playing Williams sisters, playing in only her second tournament since the U.S. Open, had to huff and puff plenty at Staples Center last night before she could get past Seles 7-5, 6-4 and gain the semifinals of the WTA Championships, also known as the Home Depot Championships presented by Porsche.

Seles led in both sets, 4-1 in the first and 2-0 in the second. She demonstrated to a crowd of about 5,000 – yesterday's two sessions totaled 8,782 – that she could hit with Venus and even handle her serve. But she can't move with Venus.

"Which is why she is No. 2 and I'm No. 6," said Seles.

As a grunter, or course, Seles is in a league of her own. "I can't keep up with her in that part," acknowledged Venus. "Maybe I'm not getting the best out of myself."

Venus remembered that she had not grunted on a tennis court before she heard Seles doing it. "And now I can't stop," said Venus.

Venus may have to expel her breath explosively some more before this $3 million event concludes. In the semifinals, she is to oppose Kim Clijsters, a 6-2, 6-1 winner yesterday over Justine Henin, her countrywoman from Belgium.

At this point in the Sanex WTA Tour's long season, most of the women are dragging. In comparison to her peers, Clijsters is positively buoyant. She also is playing strongly, having won six straight matches and 13 of 14.

"Maybe some of the other players are looking forward to going home," said Clijsters. "Maybe that's why they're getting tired. I want the year to end well, and there are four matches you can play here. It's nothing, four matches, so you try to really focus and be very professional."

Of the matches conducted here, only two have been compelling, both involving Seles – her opening-round conquest of Lindsay Davenport, when she resisted seven match points against her, and her encounter last night with Venus Williams.

"There were some great points, for sure," said the winner, "and some long games. It was a two-set match, but it lasted almost two hours."

Ultimately, Venus' vastly superior court coverage enabled her to run her career advantage over her veteran opponent to 9-1. The only time Seles has won: at this year's Australian Open, when she prevailed 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-3.

Seles consistently sped back stunning service returns; in seven of Venus' 11 service games, Seles had advantages. But she could convert only three of 13 break points. Venus delivered on five of 10 break points and scored breaks in three of Seles' last four service games.

Seles' best opportunity arguably came in the first set. In this set, after falling behind 1-4, Venus was serving at 3-4, 30-40. Here, she had a forehand hit the top of the net and trickle over. Had the ball fallen the other way, Seles would have had a 5-3 advantage. Instead, it was deuce and Venus later won the game to even the match.

At 5-5, Williams broke Seles at love and served out the set. But still the winner had to labor. An example: down 2-3 in the second set, she served a game that included 26 points and went to deuce nine times. Venus twice turned away break points and finally won the game and, a bit later, the match.

After it was over, Seles was presented a large glass tennis ball as "Sanex Hero of the Year" for being named the tour's most popular player in a poll conducted on a web site. No, Seles said, she has no to plans to retire.

In Clijsters, Venus is to go against the only player to extend her while she was capturing the Acura Classic at La Costa in early August. Venus scored in the quarterfinals 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 and went on to whip past Davenport and Jelena Dokic with the loss of only seven games.

Clijsters took only 59 minutes to dispatch Henin. Clijsters breezed through it, hitting 15 winners to her rival's five, making just 22 errors to Henin's 33 and never having her service severed.

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 2002, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Talking The Heat Is On

Uh-oh! Two faves - but Venus is ultimate fave.


Venus, Clijsters reach semifinals

Williams delivers 11 aces in advancing past Seles

Associated Press

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Associated Press
Kim Clijsters showed no mercy against her childhood friend from Belgium, defeating Justine Henin, 6-2, 6-1.
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Associated Press
Venus Williams saved 10 of 13 break points in her win over Monica Seles.
LOS ANGELES - Second-seeded Venus Williams saved 10 of 13 break points and beat No. 6 Monica Seles, 7-5, 6-4, in the quarterfinals of the WTA Championships on Friday night.
Williams will play No. 5 Kim Clijsters on Sunday in the semifinals of the season-ending tournament that determines the WTA Tour's final rankings.

Clijsters beat No. 4 Justine Henin, 6-2, 6-1, in an all-Belgian quarterfinal.

Seles was clearly the favorite of the crowd at Staples Center, where she saved seven match points in beating Lindsay Davenport in the first round.

"I was very happy to be able to stay with her," Williams said.

"I have a lot of respect for her. She was my favorite player growing up. That's why I started grunting; I wanted to be like Monica."

Seles successfully neutralized Williams' firepower, cracking winners off serves that reached 113 mph.

Even when she didn't hit outright winners, Seles got the ball in play and Williams helped by making 38 unforced errors.

Williams had 11 aces and hit 44 winners to Seles' 21.

Seles blew a 4-1 lead in the first set, then had four break points to go up, 5-3, but Williams hit a forehand winner and a 114-mph serve to hold at 4-4.

Williams later broke Seles at love for a 6-5 lead before hitting a backhand winner off her 115-mph serve to win the set.

They traded service breaks early in the second set before Seles led, 3-2. Williams survived nine deuces on her serve and tied the set at 3-3 when Seles netted a backhand.

Williams broke Seles in two of the next three games for a 5-4 lead.

Williams fired a 116-mph ace to set up her first match point.

She won it on her second when Seles netted a forehand.

Williams extended her dominance of Seles, having won nine of their 10 career meetings, including the last three.

Henin offered little resistance against her childhood friend.

Clijsters owns a 5-2 record in their rivalry with three of her wins coming this year.

"Maybe that's the worst I've ever played against her," said Henin, a friend of Clijsters' since they were youngsters who traveled and roomed together at junior tournaments.

"Those matches are never easy," Clijsters said. "There's always a bit of tension because I know her so well. But that's tennis.

"We can't choose how the draw was made."

Henin committed 33 unforced errors in front of a sparse afternoon crowd at Staples Center, where a leak in the 20,000-seat arena's roof caused rain to drop on a third-row seat that wasn't occupied.

"I was really tired. I was sweating a lot and that's not normal for me," Henin said.

"It's the end of the season. Everybody is tired.

"When you're in the top 16, it means you've played a lot of matches."

Henin, 20, plans to wed Pierre-Yves Hardenne next Saturday in Belgium.

But she said she was focused on the tennis ball and not wedding bells.

"I completely forgot that I'm getting married next week," she said.

"That's not the reason."

Clijsters is on the guest list, although she'll be attending alone since boyfriend and men's No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt will be in Shanghai for the ATP Tour's season-ending championships, which begin on Tuesday.

What would it mean if Clijsters and Hewitt each won their tour's respective championship?

"It would be nicer if it was in the same facility," she said. "You would notice it a little more but now he's so far away."

After a season stuffed with 67 tournaments in 33 countries, many of the 16 players at the championships have complained of being tired and are eager for the tennis year to end.

Not the 19-year-old Clijsters.

"It's your last few matches so I'm really motivated to try to finish the year on a positive note," she said.

"I feel fine. Maybe some of the other players are really looking forward to going home.

"I know next week I'll have a few days off."

Clijsters hit deep ground strokes and played angles that forced Henin off the court.

She won 71 percent of her trips to the net and held a 15-5 edge in winners.

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