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GogoGirl
May 30th, 2003, 09:04 PM
"WAY TO GO SERENA" "YOU DA REAL CLAY COURT QUEEN" "PROVE IT" "DEFEND TO THE END"





http://sport.independent.co.uk/tennis/story.jsp?story=410958


Serena back to her best to avenge sister's defeat
By Chris Bowers in Paris
31 May 2003


Suggestions that Serena Williams's unbeaten streak in Grand Slam tournaments might be vulnerable were put firmly into perspective yesterday when the world No 1 moved into the fourth round of the French Open here in the most emphatic way possible.

Defeats to Justine Henin-Hardenne and Amelie Mauresmo in recent weeks have given the rest of the sorority at the top of women's tennis hope that they could prevent the younger Williams winnning a major for the first time since last year's Australian Open. They might yet, but yesterday Williams dismissed Barbara Schett 6-0, 6-0 in 40 minutes.

While Schett isn't the force she was when ranked seventh four years ago, the severity of the victory will remind Henin-Hardenne, Mauresmo, and other title hopefuls such as Kim Clijsters, Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport, that Serena's alleged vulnerability is very relative.

After completing what she termed a "Serena Slam" when she won the Australian Open in January to hold all four major titles, Williams said her aim was now to go through the year unbeaten. Losing twice by the middle of May has therefore been taken as a sign that her edifice of invincibility is crumbling, whereas not since Martina Hingis arrived here unbeaten in 1997 has a world No 1 been so dominant this early in the year.

The demolition job on Schett was not the quickest women's victory ever witnessed on the Philippe Chatrier arena. Steffi Graf's 6-0, 6-0 win over Natasha Zvereva in the 1988 final took 33 minutes, and left the 17-year-old from Minsk so scarred that her singles career never recovered.

Yesterday's win for the top seed also carried a sense of the fury of a Williams scorned. Two years ago the Austrian put out her sister Venus in the first round here. Though she did not cite it as a primary reason for the thoroughness of her victory, Serena said: "Her being my sister, maybe deep down there's something there. But I knew Barbara has been in the top 10 so I had to be really serious, I couldn't joke around at all."

A greater motivation for getting off court quickly was more likely the heat. The mercury topped 30C with mounting humidity, and the message from those who coming off court victorious was one of relief. Mauresmo and Henin-Hardenne were particularly pleased to have played short matches, as both could run into Serena Williams in week two.

Mauresmo, the fifth seed and Williams' projected quarter-final opponent, ended the spirited challenge of Fabiola Zuluaga from Colombia 6-3, 6-4. Hemmed in by the hopes of the French crowd in the past, the 23-year-old seems to be dealing with the weight of home expectations much better. "I'm feeling it a little bit," Mauresmo said, "but not so much. I don't read the press, I just do my thing."

Henin-Hardenne, who could meet Serena in the semi-finals, took less time to beat Dally Randriantefy, the first top-level tennis player to come from Madagascar. Randriantefy has now made it to the third round of three Grand Slam tournaments, beginning when she lost to the eventual champion, Mary Pierce, at the 1995 Australian Open. If that is an omen for the Belgian, the 50 minutes they spent on court in Henin-Hardenne's 6-1, 6-1 win will have done nothing to dent her chances of lifting the Suzanne Lenglen Cup a week today.

Being of slight physique, albeit with an expanding muscle mass, the fourth seed knows she can throw away any chance of winning the tournament if she gets drawn into too many long matches in the first week. "It's good that physically I had a short match today," she said. "It gives me more chances for the future of the tournament. It was quite hot out there, so it was good to spare my body."

Henin-Hardenne may have a much tougher fourth round match tomorrow - her 21st birthday - when she faces Patty Schnyder. The 19th seed was a 6-3, 6-4 winner over the rising Greek 14th seed Eleni Daniilidou, and her unorthodox left-handed playing style could well present difficulties for the likeable Belgian.
30 May 2003 16:03

GogoGirl
May 30th, 2003, 09:08 PM
http://www.sportsmediainc.net/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=8841&bannerregion=



Serena Shuts Out Schett To Roll Into Roland Garros Fourth Round


Photo By Susan Mullane By Richard Pagliaro
05/30/2003

Serena Williams started this French fortnight entrenched in exile: she sent herself to her room. The self-imposed punishment for losing two matches during the clay court season is Williams' way of forcing herself to focus on tennis.

Rather than visit Paris' popular cultural attractions, Williams has spent much of her time off the court inside her hotel room putting her priorities in order. Arriving at Roland Garros for her third-round match with Barbara Schett, a determined Williams essentially placed a Do Not Disturb sign on her Grand Slam winning streak.

Playing with the speed of someone who had room service waiting for her, a fiercely focused Williams shut-out Schett, 6-0, 6-0, to roll into the Roland Garros fourth round.

"Until I can get serious about my tennis, I tell myself, 'Serena, you have to stay in your room until you get serious,' " said Williams, whose only two losses of the season have come on clay as she fell to Justine Henin-Hardenne in the Charleston final and to French woman Amelie Mauresmo in the Rome semifinals. "I'm really trying to concentrate and stay focused."

While she's spent the last week studying the wallpaper inside her hotel room, Williams plastered powerful shots all over the court in redesigning the red clay to accommodate her all-court attack. Schett, who upset Venus Williams in the opening round of the 2001 French Open, reached a career-high rank of No. 8 two years ago, but today she was simply overwhelmed by Williams' shot selection. The Austrian won just 20 points in the match, including only five points in a stunning 17-minute second set that was little more than target practice for Williams.

"I was really focused out there and concentrated on each ball," Williams said. "I just played very good today. Usually Barbara and I have tough matches, I guess today it was just my day. I hope I can keep it up."

There has been widespread speculation ranging from the players' locker room to Internet posts on tennis message boards that the top-ranked Williams is vulnerable and ready to be beaten on the slow surface that negates her power.

Don't believe the hype. People questioning her ability to reach her second straight Roland Garros final aren't really paying attention. Williams may once have been a hitter, but she grew into a player years ago and now stands alone as the sport's supreme champion. Power is only component in Williams' awesome arsenal. Her quick court coverage, astute use of angles, ability to effectively end points at the net, the top serve in tennis and above all else, her intense will to win and the intelligence to use all the weapons at her disposal make Serena the complete package.

And while Williams outwardly appears amused by the talk of her vulnerability, inwardly it can only add further fuel to the competitive fire than burns within.

"It makes me feel more relaxed for people to put pressure on the other girls besides just me," Williams said. "People can think (she's vulnerable) what they want. I want to make clay my strongest surface."

Japan's Ai Sugiyama, the 16th seed, is Williams' fourth-round opponent with a potential rematch with Mauresmo looming in the quarterfinals. She may be spending much of her spare time indoors now, but when check-out time arrives, Williams may well be carrying her sixth Grand Slam title along with her luggage.

Pureracket
May 30th, 2003, 09:13 PM
"There has been widespread speculation ranging from the players' locker room to Internet posts on tennis message boards that the top-ranked Williams is vulnerable and ready to be beaten on the slow surface that negates her power."

I wonder which message boards they're talking about.:)

Cariaoke
May 30th, 2003, 09:37 PM
*looks up at ceiling and shrugs shoulders* Dude, I have no idea. :)

leslie
May 30th, 2003, 11:12 PM
ESPN message board.

Zenith
May 30th, 2003, 11:35 PM
"Until I can get serious about my tennis, I tell myself, 'Serena, you have to stay in your room until you get serious,' " said Williams

LMAO :D . Serena you are cracking me up!!!

vs1
May 30th, 2003, 11:35 PM
http://www.sportsmediainc.net/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=8841&bannerregion=

Don't believe the hype. People questioning her ability to reach her second straight Roland Garros final aren't really paying attention. Williams may once have been a hitter, but she grew into a player years ago and now stands alone as the sport's supreme champion. Power is only component in Williams' awesome arsenal. Her quick court coverage, astute use of angles, ability to effectively end points at the net, the top serve in tennis and above all else, her intense will to win and the intelligence to use all the weapons at her disposal make Serena the complete package.


I LOVE that paragraph! It's exactly what I think about Babygirl! She's the COMPLETE PACKAGE!!! :hearts: :hearts:

Cariaoke
May 30th, 2003, 11:47 PM
EXACTLY! :hearts: :hearts: :hearts: :hearts: