MELBOURNE, Australia, Jan. 21 — Venus Williams wasn’t fazed a bit when spectators loudly called some of her shots out. Williams responded with a burst of winners midway through the first set that helped carry her to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Daniela Hantuchova on Tuesday and into the Australian Open semifinals.
“I WAS FORTUNATE TO get through,” Williams said. “I don’t think Daniela played as well as she wanted to today.”
Williams is one victory away from a potential fourth consecutive Grand Slam tournament final against younger sister Serena, who beat her for three major titles last year.
Serena plays her quarterfinal Wednesday against Meghann Shaughnessy.
In the fifth game, spectators yelled that Venus Williams’ previous shot had been out when she won a point with a volley. On the next point, a roar of “out” came from many in the crowd on Williams’ forehand. There was no call from the line judge, but she missed the next shot.
After she lost the game for 2-3 on an out call that was loudly applauded, Williams came back to win her serve at love and broke for 4-3.
“In the middle of a point when the crowd starts to be noisy, it’s best just to focus on your shot and not to worry if the ball was really in or out,” Williams said. “I’d like to think they were in.”
She had some shaky moments later, but broke three times in the second set, setting up match point with a backhand crosscourt passing shot on the run and winning when Hantuchova sent a backhand long.
She also served six aces at speeds of up to 125 mph, shown as 201 kilometers an hour on the board.
“I don’t know if I served well, but did everyone see the 201?” she asked later. “I was surprised when I saw that speed. I got a bit distracted but I got my focus back.”
Since hitting the fastest recorded serve in women’s tennis, 127 mph in 1998, Williams said she had been concentrating more on placement, hitting her fastest serves when she hasn’t been trying.
Now, she said, “I’m going to start trying to see if I can serve even bigger than the record.”
Hantuchova, a 19-year-old Slovakian seeded seventh, came close to beating Williams at last year’s Australian Open, but now has a 0-4 record against her.
Hantuchova had a chance to even the first set at 5-all when Williams, serving at 40-15, netted forehands on the next three points. But with Williams helpless at the net, Hantuchova hit a lob long. She had three errors on the next four points.
This just goes to show how really focussed and unphased Venus is by all the happenings around her...a true Champion
. The behaviour of some people in the stands has been really poor at this Aussie Open...but that isn't going to stop Vee or Rena one bit