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QueenO
Jul 1st, 2002, 02:14 PM
LONDON, July 1 — Defending champion Venus Williams ruthlessly dismissed the challenge of doubles specialist and 16th seed Lisa Raymond to charge into the Wimbledon quarterfinals with a quickfire 6-1, 6-2 win on Monday.


WILLIAMS, WHO HAS now extended her Wimbledon winning streak to 18 matches, barely put a foot wrong as she thundered through the first set in just 18 minutes as Raymond failed to make any sort of dent on the top seed’s serve.



Having unexpectedly dropped a set against lowly ranked Canadian Maureen Drake in the previous round, Williams — winner of 25 career titles compared to her opponent’s three — was in no mood to hang around on a cold and damp court one with rain clouds threatening.
Unable to play her usual brand of attacking tennis, Raymond, 28, was often frustrated as she watched blinding winners go past her racket.
Raymond — the reigning doubles champion here with Australian Rennae Stubbs — might have come into the match with high expectations as she is one of the few serve-and-volleyers on the women’s tour but was quickly cut down to size by the towering Williams.
Despite the blustery conditions, Williams stayed focused from the moment the first ball was struck and reeled off five straight games from 1-1 to grab a one-set lead.
Watched by mother Oracene, Venus kept up the momentum in the second and broke Raymond in the third and seventh games.
While a crisp backhand down the line passing shot from Williams did the damage in the third game, an unforced error by Raymond handed her compatriot the double break.
With Venus ruling from the baseline and from the net, there was little Raymond could do stop the flow of explosive shots and meekly surrendered the 48-minute match with a service return into the net.


Williams will next meet Russia’s Elena Likhovtseva, who powered into her first Wimbledon quarterfinal with an impressive 6-3, 6-4 demolition of 19th seed Magadalena Maleeva.
Her heavy serve and piercing ground-strokes forcing former world No. 4 Maleeva into a tail spin Likhovstseva made light of the blustery conditions to win in 68 minutes.
She broke twice to land the first set before Maleeva produced some stiffer resistance to hold serve at 4-4 in the second set.
But two stunning returns of serve prefaced Maleeva’s ultimate downfall as Likhovtseva broke in the 10th game to close out the match.

Infiniti2001
Jul 1st, 2002, 04:31 PM
Imposing Venus strolls into quarters

LONDON, July 1 (Reuters) - Defending champion Venus Williams ruthlessly dismissed the challenge of doubles specialist and 16th seed Lisa Raymond to charge into the Wimbledon quarter-finals with a quickfire 6-1 6-2 win on Monday.

Williams, who has now extended her Wimbledon winning streak to 18 matches, barely put a foot wrong as she thundered through the first set in just 18 minutes as Raymond failed to make any sort of dent on the top seed's serve.

Having unexpectedly dropped a set against lowly ranked Canadian Maureen Drake in the previous round, Williams -- winner of 25 career titles compared to her opponent's three -- was in no mood to hang around on a cold and damp court one with rain clouds threatening.

"I always try and improve as the tournament goes on and because I didn't move very well on Saturday (against Drake), I was happy to do better today," said 22-year-old Williams.

"I know what it's like to wine here so it's important for me to think that I've played well when I walk off court."

Unable to play her usual brand of attacking tennis, Raymond, 28, was often frustrated as she watched blinding winners go past her racket.

Raymond -- the reigning doubles champion here with Australian Rennae Stubbs -- might have come into the match with high expectations as she is one of the few serve-and-volleyers on the women's tour but was quickly cut down to size by the towering Williams.

Despite the blustery conditions, Williams stayed focused from the moment the first ball was struck and reeled off five straight games from 1-1 to grab a one-set lead.

Watched by mother Oracene, Venus kept up the momentum in the second and broke Raymond in the third and seventh games.

While a crisp backhand down the line passing shot from Williams did the damage in the third game, an unforced error by Raymond handed her compatriot the double break.

With Venus ruling from the baseline and from the net, there was little Raymond could do stop the flow of explosive shots and meekly surrendered the 48-minute match with a service return into the net.

"Playing doubles has definitely helped my volleys and today it gave me the confidence to come into the net so much," said Williams, who is partnering younger sister Serena in the Wimbledon women's competition this year.

"You could see in the second set that Lisa kept trying to find a way to get into the match and I admire her for that but she stayed at the baseline for most of the match because she realised that I've got some great passing shots."

Williams will next face Elena Likhovtseva of Russia for a place in the last four.
07/01/02 09:54 ET

QueenO
Jul 1st, 2002, 09:47 PM
Williams Writes Off Raymond To Reach Wimbledon Quarterfinals

http://www.sportsmediainc.net/tennisweek/WILLIAMS9Vartseitz.jpg
Photo By Art Seitz By Richard Pagliaro
07/01/2002


The grass wilted beneath Venus Williams' fast feet while her expansive reach was nearly exhausted today. Lunging left, reaching right, spinning to stave off a series of challenges thrust in her face, the two-time defending champion repeatedly responded with a ready reply.



Moments after Williams wrote off 16th-seeded Lisa Raymond, 6-1, 6-2, to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the fifth consecutive year, her toughest test of the day came in the post-match autograph session.

As the top seed rapidly signed her autograph for legions of fans eager to own her name etched on paper it was clear the top seed has already made her mark on the tournament.

In what was perhaps her most dominant performance of the fortnight, the 22-year-old Williams turned back one of the game's top volleyers with the comfortable confidence of a player writing her result on a draw sheet. Scripting her success on the strength of a sensational serve, Williams won 85 percent of her first-serve points (22 of 26 points), delivered five aces, did not double fault and faced only one break point in the match, which she saved with a 116 mph service winner, followed by a 115 mph ace down the middle to reach match point. She closed out the 48-minute victory when Raymond netted a return off a strong second serve.

Apparently inspired by dropping the first set of her third-round match to unheralded Canadian Maureen Drake on Saturday, Williams came out firing today. She slammed four aces in winning the first set in 18 minutes. The four-time Grand Slam champion has won five of her eight sets in this event by the same score of 6-1.

Though Raymond's attacking style has helped her reach at least the fourth round in three of her last four Wimbledon appearances, the 5-foot-5 former two-time NCAA champion simply lacked the weapons to combat Williams' awesome arsenal of shots.

The 6-foot-1 Williams will take on Elena Likhovtseva in the quarterfinals. The Russian defeated 19th-seeded Magdalena Maleeva 6-3, 6-4 in her fourth-round match today.

Williams Rulez
Jul 2nd, 2002, 05:08 AM
Venus is looking good... and I think she'll win her quarterfinals match pretty easily... :D

QueenO
Jul 2nd, 2002, 02:32 PM
Venus coasts through


Williams romped through to the semi-finals

V Williams 6-2 6-0 E Likhovtseva
Venus Williams raced through to the semi-finals of the women's singles at Wimbledon with a convincing straight sets win over Russian Elena Likhovtseva.

The pair finally opened proceedings on Centre Court at 1410 BST after a rain delay.

But the defending champion made short shrift of Likhovtseva's challenge, wrapping up the match in just 47 minutes.

When the game eventually got underway the Russian certainly looked capable of matching the world number one in the early stages.

Williams coasts into quarters

Then, at 2-2 Williams, stepped up a gear and took the next four games to complete the first set 6-2 in 27 minutes.

Despite still sporting a bandage on one leg Williams was in dominant mood.

She stepped up another gear in the second set to break her opponent in just the second game.

Williams even got three net chords in her favour in the early stages of the set and it seemed to dent Likhovtseva's confidence.

She was unable to stem the Williams onslaught and the two-time winner took the set without losing a game in just 20 minutes.

Williams went into the game having beaten the unseeded Russian seven times in a row, and the unwanted record seemed to play on her mind as she fell apart in the second set.

QueenO
Jul 2nd, 2002, 07:24 PM
Venus Slams Likhovtseva To Soar Into Third Straight Wimbledon Semifinal


Photo By Fred Mullane By Richard Pagliaro
07/02/2002


If a movie were made about Venus Williams' streak of success at the All England Club, the top seed would not only be the star, she'd be the director. Leaping around the lawn like an action hero overpowering a cast of faceless stunt women in a choreographed clash devoid of drama, Williams has been a formidable figure in this fortnight.



Today, she followed a familiar script with a solid start before building to a crushing climax in winning 10 consecutive games to close out a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Elena Likhovtseva in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

The two-time defending champion qualified for the semifinals for the third successive season in extending her Wimbledon winning streak to 19 matches. If it weren't for her doubles play with sister Serena, Venus' appearances would be almost as brief as the Duchess of Kent.

In her five tournament victories, Williams has only been pushed past the one-hour match mark once — in her 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 win over Canadian Maureen Drake in the third round. Her dominance is reflected in the match scores as Williams has surrendered more than two games in a set only twice in the 11 sets she's played.

The 26-year-old Likhovtseva is solid in all areas, but lacks a singular strength to attack an opponent as powerful as Williams. Through the first four games, the Russian stayed even, but that may have been more of a product of Williams' cautious play than Likhovtseva's play.

At the outset, Williams played conservative returns down the middle. It is a tactic similar to the one Lindsay Davenport deployed in devastating fashion only Williams' returns in the first two games lacked the depth of Davenport's in her run to the 1999 title, giving Likhovtseva an opportunity to attack the short ball within a few steps of the service line.

When Likhovtseva lashed a backhand winner down the line to hold serve at love, she evened the first set at 2-2. It would be the last game she won as Williams elevated her game in explosive style, winning eight of the next 10 points to take a 4-2 lead she never relinquished. Williams saved the second break point she faced in the match with a service winner and held with a backhand winner down the line for a 5-2 lead before breaking Likhovtseva to seize the first set in 27 minutes.

Barely breaking a sweat in the second set, Williams won 12 of her 14 service points and 25 of 32 points overall to roll through the second set in 20 minutes. The second set featured the point of the match as Williams hit a full-stretch forehand volley she followed with two quick steps to her left to lift a leaping backhand volley winner behind Likhovtseva to reach break point in the fourth game. She broke serve on the next point and lost only two points in the final two games to conclude another commanding performance.

Though she sometimes still seems more comfortable hitting swing volleys rather than conventional volleys, Williams has shown more confidence in attacking the net. Should she ever develop her net game to match her athleticism, it's hard to imagine her being seriously threatened on Wimbledon's lawns by anyone other than sister Serena.