Serena really IS #1
(This is from cnnsi. They used to mistake Serena for Venus. Now it's the other way around. So to people who think there's only one player named 'Williams', her first name is 'Serena' now.)
A girl's best friend
Serena Williams wins Diamond Games title
Posted: Sunday February 16, 2003 11:28 AM
ANTWERP, Belgium (AP) -- Venus Williams overwhelmed Kim Clijsters 6-2, 6-4 Sunday to win the Diamond Games and came within one tournament win of owning the $1.07 million diamond-encrusted trophy racket for good.
In a final between the world's No. 2 and 3, the ranking was respected as Williams' overpowering serve and flawless backcourt game made the difference. The American slammed serves peaking at 117.5 mph, compared to too many serves of the Belgian which failed to reach 94 mph.
"I put a lot of pressure with my serve," Williams said. "I was always able to force the point."
"She was simply far too strong on the important points," the Belgian said. "Her first serves made a lot of difference."
The successful defense of her title left Williams in an enviable position. If she wins the Antwerp event in any of the next three years, she can claim the diamond racket as her own. The trophy goes to the first triple champion in any five-year span.
"I have a great chance to do that now," said Williams, who feels an obligation to come back.
"I have no choice," she said.
Asked whether she would invite her sister Serena, the world's No. 1, to come toughen the competition even more, she said, "If you want to challenge me here, Serena, if you are watching, come on." Venus has lost to Serena in the final of the last four Grand Slams, including last month's Australian Open.
Venus received the trophy studded with 1,700 gems to the strains of Shirley Bassey "Diamonds are forever." She immediately went over to show off the trophy to her mother, Oracene, in the stands. She had already visited the gem district in the world's diamond cutting center early this week.
Williams' straight-set win came despite the massive support of the capacity crowd of 14,400 at the Sports Palace, which was fully behind local hero Clijsters.
"I really felt good when I saw the crowd," Clijsters said.
Williams played great tennis throughout the week, not losing a set in the US$585,000 tournament where four of the world's top five players reached the semifinals.
In an entertaining opening set, it was Clijsters who was able to force a first breakpoint in the third game, but a great serve and some good backcourt scrambling saved the American.
In the fourth game, Clijsters was still able to save two breakpoints, but two games later Williams left no more respite. After the initial breakthrough the first set followed quickly, taking just 29 minutes. Clijsters immediately took the initiative in the second set, when a momentary lapse in concentration gave Williams' first service game away.
Williams immediately hit back though, ruthlessly exploiting the weak serve of Clijsters with a love-game to get even at 1-1.
From then on, Clijsters' backcourt game, long the backbone of her play this week, deteriorated as she started hitting balls long, wide, or straight into the net. Williams rushed into a 4-1 lead.
The once-raucous crowd grew increasingly silent, with Williams whipping balls past the Belgian.
Then a brief rally gave Clijsters and the fans a glimmer of hope again as she closed the gap to 5-4 with her own serve to come.
"I was prepared for her to fight back," Williams said.
Williams refused to let momentum slip and won the match after 80 minutes when Clijsters sent a ball wide. It was her first tournament win this year.
In Saturday's semifinal, Williams coasted to a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Slovak Daniela Hantuchova, the world's No. 5, while Clijsters won an all-Belgian battle against world No. 4 Justine Henin-Hardenne 6-2, 7-6 (3). Williams pulled out of the Dubai Open, which begins Monday, citing a tight schedule.
Proud to be an American
Not blind. Not uninformed. We are party to atrocities. But the response of the world after 9/11 is worth noting. Even our most dire enemies offered aid. We should all be so lucky.