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QueenO
Jun 26th, 2002, 12:48 AM
Wimbledon-Venus shows her class
By Ossian Shine


Click to enlarge photo

LONDON (Reuters) - A regal Venus Williams silenced Centre Court upstart Jane O'Donoghue in just 45 minutes on Tuesday, pulverising the British wildcard 6-1 6-1 in the Wimbledon first round.


Every single one of the 343 ranking placings separating world number one Williams and the 19-year old local were underlined in this grass-court mis-match.


"Today was very, very good," she smiled afterwards.


"Actually to be honest she played very, very well. She came out and tried to hit winners and in fact she executed it very well.


"But I am so comfortable on the grass and I have so much more experience -- that is what counted."


Top seed Williams is looking for a third consecutive Wimbledon crown, O'Donoghue was playing in her first tour-level event. The Briton was game, positive and optimistic. Williams was simply world-class.


O'Donoghue has never faced a serve like the Williams delivery and at times she looked in danger of being hospitalised by it as she bobbed, skipped and ducked out of the way of the scorching missiles.


HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION


Even world heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis, sitting courtside, winced as the thundering deliveries crashed down towards the Briton.


"That serve is amazing," O'Donoghue laughed afterwards.


"You know, I approached this believing I could beat her... you have to do that.


"I thought, 'I'll make her serve first... put some pressure on her'. Then she came out and served practically four aces. Then I realised 'I've got a mountain to climb'," she added, smiling.


The American, who has also won the U.S. Open for the last two years, lost just one point on her serve in the opening set, allowing the Briton only 10 points altogether as she claimed it in 20 minutes.


She showed little charity in the second set too, giving away a miserly 13 points before clinching a simple but emphatic victory.


"I am just used to players coming out and trying to go at me 100 percent," Williams said.


"But there is something about the grass... I love playing on it. It feels nice being a two-times champion and I want to make it three."


BETTER PLAYER


O'Donoghue recognised Williams's class and refused to be too despondent.


"She is the best player in the world so I thought I played pretty well," she said. "I felt I did do myself justice.


"And now I have had a taste of it I want more of it. I want to play on Centre Court again, its the best place in the world.


"I am still young and hope I showed people that we have some talent in this country.


The Briton knew she had been beaten by the better player and lauded her opponent for her on-court manners.


"You know, today I just felt a bit rushed. She really is a tremendous athlete.


"But she was nice to me afterwards... she said 'hard luck'. I think she realised it was my day out there and I appreciated that."


It was Donoghue's day in the sun but the crown still belongs to Venus.

Terri77
Jun 27th, 2002, 11:27 PM
Nice article.

Jovon
Jun 29th, 2002, 01:12 AM
Great article:)