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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 06:24 AM Thread Starter
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Old Article: Hingis, Venus are compelling rivals

Hingis, Venus are compelling rivals

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Latest: Friday September 08, 2000 09:44 PM


By Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated


FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. -- After wiping a gangly, giggly teenager named Venus Williams off the courts of Key Biscayne in the spring of 1997, Martina Hingis nearly tripped on a bead in the interview room. "Maybe someone should give this back to Venus," she joked, tossing the spheroid to a WTA Tour employee. So far as anyone can tell, that may have marked the opening salvo in tennis' strongest, most contoured rivalry.

Friday their compendium of memorable mano-à-mano throwdowns got even thicker. In three breathtaking sets that left more than 20,000 fans equally drained and exhilarated, Williams outlasted her foil 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the U.S. Open semifinals. Like all great matches, this one had the ebb and flow of a sine curve.

Just when it looked as though Hingis was pulling away, Venus stole the second set. Just when it looked as though Williams was pulling away, Hingis scored an early break in the third. When Hingis was two points from winning the match, Williams won the point of the year and stormed back to take the next four games. As Williams spun like a top and eventually made her way to the net after match point, she mouthed the word, "Unbelievable." Our sentiments exactly.

What makes the Hingis-Venus rivalry so special? For one, there are the obvious physical differences, the tall, lithe African-American from Compton vs. the porcelain Caucasian with the Swiss/Czech provenance. That there's been no love lost between the two doesn't hurt the storyline, either. It's not exactly a blood feud, but their post-match "handshake" -- more a random clipping of palms -- spoke volumes about the state of their relationship. Further, that neither player harbors much interest in humility creates distinct rooting interests. What tennis fan was indifferent to the outcome?

But beyond surface characteristics, the most compelling disparities, finally, are the ones on the court. Referring to boxing, someone once remarked, "Styles make fights." So, too, tennis. Hingis and Venus are both spectacular players, but they're utterly different. One zigs where the other zags. It's not merely the time-honored, power vs. finesse dichotomy -- though Venus did have 51 winners to Hingis' 13. They like different angles, they like to employ different spots on the court, they prefer different speeds, heights and spins. As Hingis confessed to me last month, "Venus tests me in a way that Lindsay [Davenport] and Serena [Williams] don't."

Venus will now move on to the final, trying to extend her winning streak to 26 matches, encompassing two Slams. She hasn't lost a match since Roland Garros, though she nearly did Friday. "I know how it feels to be close to losing," Venus said afterward. But losing outright? "That's a foreign concept and not a very accepted one," she said. For Hingis, it isn't particularly well-accepted either. She can take some consolation, though, knowing that among all great rivalries, the winners and losers invariably swap roles.


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In the other, less breathtaking semifinal, Davenport was leading Elena Dementieva 6-2, 5-2 and 40-0. Rarely perceived as a player who tightens when the pressure's on, Davenport had to go to a tiebreaker to win the second set. ... Nice week for Lleyton Hewitt. Not only will he play Pete Sampras for a spot in the men's final, but he and partner Max Mirnyi took the men's doubles trophy Friday. ... Serena Williams is back in Florida, getting treatment on her left big toe. ... The inimitable Goran Ivanisevic may have lost more than a week ago, but he was still around the courts, presumably practicing before the Olympics.
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 08:06 AM
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I miss their matches...
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 11:44 AM
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I think one thing that made their rivalry great was that they both had respect for the other, but they rarely spoke about it, keeping that "hate" thing going. Thanks for the article.
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 11:52 AM
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Nice article. Thanks
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GO MARTINA HINGIS!!!!!!!!
Myskina, kirilenko, chakvetadze. Douchevina, Petrova, Clijsters, Zvonareva, Dementieva, Vaidiosava, Voskoboeva, !!!!!

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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 12:04 PM
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GREAT rivalry! i miss venus and martina!
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 01:50 PM
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I too wished that they had a prolonged rivalry. It could have been one of the best. That US open SF match is by far my favorite Venus moment. The one the previous year was also a classic even though Venus lost to Hingis that year.

No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent

- Eleanor Roosevelt


Until the philosophy which holds one race
Superior and another inferior
Is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned
Everywhere is war, me say war...

- Bob Marley/Haile Selassie
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan
GREAT rivalry! i miss venus and martina!
ITA!
I've never been fond of Hingis but I do have
to say that I also miss their matches.
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 02:03 PM
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Venus vs Martina. This generation´s BEST and GREATEST rivalry.

Too bad it ended so quickly. Could´ve been a classic!

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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 03:00 PM
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Nice article, but I thought Martina's comment toward Serena at the time was wierd, since she lost a SLAM to Serena just a year before, and Serena's head to head vs Martina was better than Venus' at the time. I don't think she ever beat Serena after that statement. Venus only lost ONE more time at the AO 2001. Martina remained #1 over this period.
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 03:05 PM
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Yeah, I think it was weird....because Serena started to beat Hingis off the bat....you´re right. Martina only got one more win after that at the same ´01 Oz open. After that it was hasta la vista, baby.

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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bandabou
Yeah, I think it was weird....because Serena started to beat Hingis off the bat....you´re right. Martina only got one more win after that at the same ´01 Oz open. After that it was hasta la vista, baby.
Actually, Martina also beat her in Sydney in 01. 6-4 7-5
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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 08:06 PM
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Indeed....I always forget Sydney. Seems like Serena liked to play Sydney, but since her ankle-thing she hasn´t gone there ever since.

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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 11:12 PM
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Brilliant Rivalry pityit couldn t go on

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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 11:22 PM
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Luckily Hingis bailed out the game. Before the Game overtook her.
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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2003, 11:31 PM
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Martina without her feet....ain´t nowhere. Plus her serve wasn´t all too good either.

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