View Full Version : For Venus, the Rust Appears and the Wheels Come off

Apr 2nd, 2004, 02:13 AM
DaysofWeek = new Array()DaysofWeek[0]="Sunday"DaysofWeek[1]="Monday"DaysofWeek[2]="Tuesday"DaysofWeek[3]="Wednesday"DaysofWeek[4]="Thursday"DaysofWeek[5]="Friday"DaysofWeek[6]="Saturday"Months = new Array()Months[0]="January"Months[1]="February"Months[2]="March"Months[3]="April"Months[4]="May"Months[5]="June"Months[6]="July"Months[7]="August"Months[8]="September"Months[9]="October"Months[10]="November"Months[11]="December"RightNow = new Date()var day = DaysofWeek[RightNow.getDay()]var date = RightNow.getDate()var Month = Months[RightNow.getMonth()]var Year = RightNow.getFullYear()if (date == 1 || date == 21 || date == 31){ender = "st"}elseif (date == 2 || date == 22){ender = "nd"}elseif (date == 3 || date == 23){ender = "rd"}else{ender = "th"}document.write("Today is " +day+ " " +Month+ " " +date+ ender+ ", " +Year+ ".")Today is Thursday April 1st, 2004.

For Venus Williams, the Rust Appears and the Wheels Come Off


The New York Times

Struggling with her comeback from injury in the shadow of her sister Serena, Venus Williams was a case study Wednesday in all that could go wrong when a player has not played many matches.

Williams, seeded second, served 11 double faults, had her serve broken 6 times and made an astounding 51 unforced errors

in losing to fifth-seeded Elena Dementieva, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (3), in the quarterfinals of the Nasdaq-100 Open.

In the semifinals on Thursday, Dementieva will play Nadia Petrova, who beat Nathalie Dechy, 6-2, 6-2.

For Williams, who has played only four tournaments since Wimbledon because of an abdominal strain, there is plenty of time to contemplate a career that once had her as the world's No. 1 player. She has dropped to 17th, has played only 10 matches this year and has not reached a semifinal. The loss spoils the potential for a renewal of the Williams sisters' rivalry. Serena Williams will play Eleni Daniilidou in the semifinals on Thursday.

Venus Williams's match included a nine-minute delay when she turned her right foot while attempting a forehand from the baseline while leading the second set at 6-5. Incredibly, Williams's play improved after her ankle and foot were heavily taped, and she quickly won the next two points to break Dementieva's serve and win the second set, 7-5.

"Her face was that she has a very painful something," Dementieva said. "And then she started to move very well. Maybe she has something, but she's going to play until the end no matter what."

Dementieva's play was little better than Williams's for most of the match, and this result was more an avoidance of defeat than a grasping of victory. Dementieva's serve has long been a weakness, and she served four double faults in the first game (she, too, had 11 double faults and was broken six times).

But Williams could not take advantage of Dementieva's anemic second serves, which were as slow as 63 miles an hour. Williams seemed listless and was frequently caught flat-footed. On several occasions she did not pursue shots that seemed reachable, and she hit shot after shot into the net or long.

But Williams won four consecutive games after she was injured and took a 3-0 lead in the third set.

"I just kept trying to play better," Williams said. "I didn't have any room for errors today."

Dementieva won the next three games. Williams led, 5-3, after breaking Dementieva's serve again and was serving for the match. But she double-faulted four times in the game including three times in a row after serving an ace to go up by 30-15 to lose the game.

In the 12th game of the set, Dementieva's serve deteriorated again and she lobbed in several second serves. Williams had a match point but hit a forehand long off Dementieva's second serve and Dementieva held serve to force the tie breaker.

In the tie breaker, Williams hit five unforced errors, and match point was typical of the entire match. Dementieva hit her second serve at 63 miles an hour, but Williams pushed her return into the net. Dementieva punctuated her victory by curtsying to the four sides of the stadium.

But the loss in such an ugly match was an apt indicator of Williams's struggles.

Her ranking has slipped so precipitously and her appearances at tournaments have become so sporadic that Reebok, which in December 2000 gave her the most lucrative endorsement contract ever for a female athlete (reported at five years for $40 million), recently declined to pick up the option on the final two years of the deal, Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal reported. The magazine said that Reebok wanted to renegotiate the deal and that Williams was still wearing Reebok clothing and shoes but was not being paid.

When Williams was asked after her match where she thought her game was now, she replied, "Just on the up and up."

But with a long way to go.

Bright Red
Apr 2nd, 2004, 03:01 AM
I think it's hard for many people to realize the pressures that top athletes face. Venus has done a fantastic job so far. She deserves mucho credit.

Her loss at Miami really hurt me because she seemed to be (and I was really hoping she'd be) invigorated by Serena's presence. I'm over it now, and I truly feel that she's 100% accurate about her game being on the up and up. She had match point this time, she'll get the win next time.

Go Venus!

Apr 2nd, 2004, 03:42 AM
I agree with you bright red.............you said it all I'm also over venus lost I beleive in both williams girls because they are my fav............

Apr 2nd, 2004, 07:01 AM
Venus needs her confidence back. When she gets it, she'll be as consistent as she's always been ... and will win again big titles! GO VENUS!!! Win Charleston!

Apr 2nd, 2004, 07:25 AM
I'm more disappointed with Dementieva for just barely winning the match. Her opponent played like a bewildered Kournikova and she just managed to win..barely.

Apr 2nd, 2004, 11:05 AM
Venus needs her confidence back. When she gets it, she'll be as consistent as she's always been ... and will win again big titles! GO VENUS!!! Win Charleston!
Venus did have flashes of brilliance against Elena but for whatever reason she just could not keep it going. She struggled equally on her serve but I think Elena played the rallies alot better on most points.

I totally don't think Venus is a flash-in-the-pan but I am concerned that her results as of late will probably have more players challenging her ability on court.

If Vee wants to be the best again she really is gonna have to show the world she is.