View Full Version : Bank of the West Classic

Jul 12th, 2002, 12:49 AM
Six of the World's Top Ten Players to Play this Year
6/27/2002 - Lara Potter
STANFORD, Calif. – Six of the world’s top 10 players, including No. 1 ranked Venus Williams, two-time Bank of the West Classic champions Monica Seles and Lindsay Davenport, defending champion Kim Clijsters, 2002 German Open champion Justine Henin, and 2002 Sarasota Open and Birmingham Open champion Jelena Dokic, will be playing at the 2002 Bank of the West Classic, July 22-28, at Taube Family Tennis Stadium, on the Stanford University campus.

Five players, who are scheduled to compete at the Bank of the West Classic, are still in the running for tennis’ most coveted title, the Wimbledon Championship. Those players to watch include Venus Williams, Monica Seles, Justine Henin, Jelena Dokic, and Tamarine Tanasugarn.

The Bank of the West Classic is a Sanex WTA Tour Tier II event, featuring a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw. Total prize money for the event is $585,000.

Williams, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, has captured the last two Wimbledon trophies, and is expected to once again play in the finals. She has blazed into the third round without any trouble and is now scheduled to face Maureen Drake on Saturday, June 29 at Wimbledon. She owns 25 career Sanex WTA Tour singles titles, including four Grand Slam titles (2000 and 2001 U.S. Open, 2000 and 2001 Wimbledon) and an Olympic gold medal. At the French Open this year, she made it to the finals before losing to her sister Serena. In addition to her success as a singles player, Williams has won eight career Sanex WTA Tour doubles titles, including four Grand Slams and an Olympic gold medal, with her sister Serena. In addition, Venus won the 2000 Bank of the West Classic.

Seles, currently ranked No. 4, is in the hunt for her first Wimbledon title. She is currently in the third round of competition and is scheduled to compete against Ai Sugiyama on Saturday, June 29. She already owns 52 singles titles, including nine Grand Slam championships. Two of those titles came from wins at the Bank of the West Classic in 1990 and 1992. Previously she has held the No. 1 ranking for 178 weeks and has earned more than $13.5 million in career prize money.

Clijsters, currently ranked No. 5, has won seven career Sanex WTA Tour singles titles and defeated compatriot Justine Henin to make it to the semifinals at this year’s Australian Open. The 18-year-old Belgian has earned more than $1.8 million in career prize money and is the reining Bank of the West Classic Champion. Clijsters became a second round upset victim at Wimbledon this year in a surprise encounter with Elena Likhovtseva.

Henin, currently ranked No. 6, was a finalist at Wimbledon last year. She is currently in the third round of competition at Wimbledon and is scheduled to compete against Myriam Casanova on Saturday, June 29. Henin is definitely a player to watch at this years Bank of the West Classic, as she and compatriot Clijsters bring a dominating Belgium force to Northern California. She has captured five Sanex WTA Tour singles titles since turning pro in 1999. In 2002, she has won the German Open, made it to three finals (Gold Coast, Antwerp, and Amelia Island) and was a quarterfinalist at the Australian Open.

Dokic, currently ranked No. 7, has once again made it into the fourth round at Wimbledon by defeating Nathalie Dechy. Her best showing at Wimbledon came in 2000, when she made it to the semifinals before losing to Davenport. Since turning pro in 1998, she has captured five Sanex WTA Tour singles titles, including this year at the Sarasota Open, where she won both the singles and doubles title, and the singles title at the Birmingham Open. She has also reached the finals at Paris and Strasbourg and the quarterfinals at the French Open. She is now set to compete against Daniela Hantuchova in the fourth round at Wimbledon on Monday, July 1.

Davenport, currently ranked No. 8, holds 37 career Sanex WTA Tour singles titles, including three Grand Slam crowns (1998 U.S. Open, 1999 Wimbledon and 2000 Australian Open) and an Olympic gold medal. She has earned more than $14 million in career prize money and has spent a total of 37 weeks ranked No. 1 in the world. The 25-year-old Southern California native also holds 31 career Sanex WTA Tour doubles titles. Davenport won the Bank of the West Classic in 1998 and 1999. Since January, Davenport has been sidelined due to a right-knee injury that was aggravated during the 2001 season ending championships. Her first tournament back on tour is scheduled to be the Bank of the West Classic.

Tanasugarn, currently ranked No. 24, has made it into the fourth round at Wimbledon the last four years in a row, but to do it again this year, she is going to have to first get past Meilen Tu on Saturday, June 29. In addition to holding three Sanex WTA doubles titles, she was a member of the Thai Olympic team in 1996 and 2000, and a member of the Thai Fed Cup team in 2000.

Other top 25 players scheduled to play at the Bank of the West Classic include No. 16 Meghann Shaughnessy of the United States, No. 17 Anna Smashnova of Israel, No. 21 Daja Bedanova of the Czech Republic, No. 23 Tatiana Panova of Russia, and No. 24 Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand.

Rounding out the field are Americans Lisa Raymond, Alexandra Stevenson, and Chanda Rubin; Rita Grande and Francesca Schiavone of Italy; Emmanuelle Gagliardi and Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian of Switzerland; Daja Bedanova of the Czech Republic; Ai Sugiyama of Japan; Nicole Pratt of Australia; and Janette Husarova of Slovakia. Four positions will be filled by qualifiers and three with wild card selections.

One of the three wild card entries has been awarded to Anna Kournikova, who has already this year made it to the semifinals at Auckland, Tokyo, and Acapulco. The other two wild cards will be announced prior to the draw ceremony, to be held on Saturday, July 20.

Now celebrating its 32nd year, the Bank of the West Classic, is the longest-running women-only professional tennis tournament in the world. The Taube Family Tennis Stadium has hosted the event since 1997. Before then, the tournament was held at the Oakland Coliseum Arena and the San Francisco Civic Auditorium. Last year, more than 45,000 fans embraced this summer classic. Previous winners include Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Martina Navratilova, Zina Garrison, Chris Evert, and Hana Mandlikova.

2002 - Player field
Scheduled to appear
• Venus Williams - 1
• Lindsay Davenport - 6
• Kim Clijsters - 5
• Monica Seles - 4
• Justine Henin - 7

Go Venus
:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

Jul 12th, 2002, 01:54 AM
Come on Venus reclaim that title :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

Williams Rulez
Jul 12th, 2002, 02:22 PM
Go Venus! :bounce:

Jul 14th, 2002, 06:59 PM
Go Venus :bounce:

So here is where your hiding Queen O ;)

Hope your doing good? :kiss:

Jul 17th, 2002, 01:51 AM
Player Acceptance List
Stanford, USA - Week of July 22, 2002
Entry Player
1 Venus Williams--top seed, 2000 Champ
2 Lindsay Davenport--4 Times in a row in the finals
3 Monica Seles
4 Kim Clijsters--defending Champ
5 Justine Henin
6 Jelena Dokic
7 Meghann Shaughnessy--Last year's upsetter
8 Tamarine Tanasugarn
9 Tatiana Panova
10 Anna Smashnova
11 Lisa Raymond
12 Alexandra Stevenson
13 Daja Bedanova
14 Ai Sugiyama
15 Chanda Rubin
16 Rita Grande
17 Nicole Pratt
18 Janette Husarova
19 Francesca Schiavone
20 Emmanuelle Gagliardi
21 Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian
22 Wild Card
23 Wild Card
24 Wild Card
25 Qualifier
26 Qualifier
27 Qualifier
28 Qualifier
Next in
1 Anna Kournikova --She's In
2 Meilen Tu
3 Marissa Irvin
4 Conchita Martinez --She'll probally get a WC
5 Emilie Loit
6 Lilia Osterloh
7 Jennifer Hopkins
8 Cara Black
9 Rossana Neffa-De Los Rios
10 Brie Rippner

Jul 18th, 2002, 06:58 AM

Jul 19th, 2002, 06:17 PM
GO VENUS ..... Queen of Stanford!!!!!!

Venus better be at 100% cuz' she has to defend tons of points (1782) ... up to the USO:

Stanford QF 60
San Diego CH 359
new Haven CH 407
USO CH 956

The good news is that she has ZERO pts to defend post-USO ..... so she can grab tons of points especially at the Chase!!!!!!:bounce:

Jul 22nd, 2002, 04:34 PM
Women's Look Forward: Stanford, Sopot
BOB Larson's Tennis News

Now things really turn serious.]

One of the side effects (we'd say drawbacks, but no doubt the hardcourt experts would disagree) of a tour that is dominated by hardcourts is that hardcourt players rise to the top. Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Jennifer Capriati -- all of them, taking their careers as a whole, have made most of their success on hardcourts. If Serena is on top now, it's because she's added the best results on other surfaces. But the player who dominates on hardcourts (and indoors) will be the year-end #1.

And so this is the week when the big scramble for points begins. It's biggest for Lindsay Davenport, because she has so few events that every point counts a lot. But just about everyone has a lot on the line. Monica Seles has no titles to defend this summer, but a bunch of finals and semifinals and wins over top players. Venus Williams has San Diego and New Haven and the U. S. Open. Serena has the Canadian Open and the U. S. Open final. Davenport has Los Angeles. Kim Clijsters has Stanford. Even Capriati, who of course has no titles, has the Canadian Open final and the U. S. Open semifinal. If any of these players (except Davenport, who is too far behind) can really outdistance the others, she will grab the top spot from Serena. We're not saying it will happen -- these players are all too competitive for anyone to really dominate, unless it's Venus, and based on recent form, Venus won't dominate Serena. But, mathematically, it could happen.

But all these players face question marks. Clijsters is the biggest: She's hurting, and she has a lot of points to defend at Stanford. It looks quite likely that she will lose her #5 spot. But there is also the question of how Davenport can do after her long layoff; she looked good in Fed Cup, but that was against almost token opposition. Another big question is whether Seles can defend her points. She did amazingly well last summer, but she hasn't looked as impressive this year and she won't be as well rested. And can Serena keep up her pace? And what about Venus? Fans don't like it when we say this, but it's a mathematically demonstrable fact: Venus is off from last year. Can she pick it back up? Will Capriati ever win another title? Will Jelena Dokic win a title against real opposition?

Those questions make Stanford more than usually significant this year. In recent years, this event has been much the weakest of the summer hardcourt events; with most players wanting to play two or three U. S. Open warmups, but not four, and most wanting to take at least one week off in the two weeks before the Open, and most wanting to play back-to-back events, Stanford is sort of an "odd event out." But in this summer of injuries and comebacks and a #1 ranking that's already gone to four different players this year, it's stronger than usual (six Top Ten players), and it may well set the tone for what lies ahead.
Stanford is interesting for a whole bunch of other reasons. If Jelena Dokic accuses someone of fixing the draw, this time she will be at least formally correct: The draw is fixed: Lindsay Davenport is returning to the court, and she has gotten a special exempt seeding (#2 behind Venus Williams, even though her ranking would make her the #6 seed). And the player who was bumped as a result was -- Dokic, who would have been the #4 seed but instead finds herself at #5. Which also costs her a first round bye. And she's in Davenport's quarter of the draw. Something -- words, sparks, racquets -- may fly.

Nor is that the only interesting line-up in this draw. #1 seed Venus Williams, in her opening match, will face -- Meghann Shaughnessy, the very player who beat her here last year (Venus's last loss of 2001). It's a big rematch for both players -- though more so for Shaughnessy; this was her last big result of 2001, and she needs the points.

There are, in fact, plenty of fine and interesting matches in this draw. Jankovic versus a qualifier doesn't excite us much, and we're not expecting much of Grande vs. qualifier or Martinez vs. Granville, but just about every other match has something interesting going for it. Let's do our usual and march down the draw, looking at the interesting matches. There are a lot of them:
First Round:

Shaughnessy vs. Schiavone. Two players in slumps. Schiavone is healthy. Shaughnessy has been saying she's healthy, but not playing like it, for so long that it's getting hard to believe. They're both very good when they're on. Shaughnessy likes hardcourts better. She also has more on the line. Can she finally break out?

Kournikova vs. (8) Smashnova. Kournikova has been having a lot of trouble lately, but she also got to the Roland Garros semifinal in doubles; that has to help her badly shattered confidence. She can outhit Smashnova, and is fast. She has what it takes to control this match. The question is, will she? Smashnova has gotten to the Top Twenty by playing very consistent tennis. Kournikova hates that. This one could well be fascinating.

Husarova vs. Tanasugarn. Two players having their best years. Husarova, in particular, is playing at a level she couldn't even have dreamed of two years ago. The surface is fairly neutral for them. Tanasugarn is ranked higher, and will not have just flown in from Fed Cup. But Husarova survives by not letting problems like that get to her.

Sugiyama vs. Raymond. Past and present #1s in doubles. Both have been marginal top twenty at some point in their careers, both are a little lower now. Sugiyama probably likes hardcourts better (earlier this year, they faced each other back-to-back at Memphis and Scottsdale. Raymond won at Memphis, indoors, Sugiyama at Scottsdale, on hardcourts). It's likely to be a very near-run thing.

(7) Bedanova vs. Panova. A very capable but erratic player in Bedanova, a steady baseboard in Panova. Panova can't really beat you, but she's very good at helping you beat yourself. And Bedanova reportedly has been hurt. How big a door will Bedanova leave open?

Stevenson vs. Tu. Alexandra Stevenson had a great spring. Lately, she's come back down to earth. We haven't yet heard how fast the court is at Stanford. That might make a big difference....

(5) Dokic vs. Frazier. Amy Frazier is having a very, very tough year, but she loves west coast hardcourts. Jelena Dokic has no such fondness. If the Frazier of 2000 should make an appearance, this just might prove really, really interesting.

Granville vs. Martinez. A former great in a deep slump versus a player just coming off her best career result. Granville of course is most accustomed to hardcourts. There probably won't be much offense in this match. But both could really use a win about now.

Second Round:

(1) V. Williams vs. Shaughnessy (or Schiavone). The big rematch from last year. Shaughnessy is way, way off since then -- but Venus isn't at her best either. Obviously Venus is the huge favorite -- but she's also lost her last three tournaments in a row, two of them to Serena. What effect will that have?
Mikaelian vs. Kournikova or (8) Smashnova. Mikaelian won her first title on hardcourts at Tashkent. Admittedly that was a very weak field. But observers say she has a very solid game. This may be her chance to prove it.

Raymond or Sugiyama vs. (6) Hénin. Justine Hénin is a great grass player. She's a great clay player. She is not a great hardcourt player. At least, not so far, and her tools are not hardcourt tools. Both her potential opponents have more experience. None of them can blow opponents off the court. This could well be the match of the tournament if you like shotmaking.

Stevenson or Tu vs. (4) Clijsters. The defending champion has a lot on the line, and she's not in good form or good health. Can someone take advantage?
With Sopot so much smaller than Stanford, and falling toward the end of the clay season, it naturally doesn't feature as many big names. There isn't a single Top Ten player present. But the seeds all have good claims to attention. First of all is the #3 seed Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, who has fallen well below her best but who reached a final two weeks ago and just helped Spain come through in Fed Cup. #1 seed Silvia Farina Elia is Top Fifteen, and has a clay title this year. #2 Patty Schnyder has been having her best season in years, and she loves clay. #4 Martina Sucha has fallen off a bit lately, but she's a talented young player. #5 Cristina Torrens Valero is the defending champion. #6 Henrieta Nagyova is also a past champion. #7 Maja Matevzic has a great collection of shots though she hasn't really turned them into a complete game. And #8 Magui Serna, another player with a clay title this year, is the WTA's leading upset artist.

The result is a surprising number of fine matches. There may not be as many names as at Stanford, but there may well be more to see. The following list shows just some of the interesting matches of the early rounds:
First Round:

Rittner vs. Leon Garcia. Upset artist vs. clay expert. Hard to predict this one.
Koulikovskaya vs. (6) Nagyova. The only woman on the Tour with two forehands is also having one of her better years. And Nagyova is having one of her worst. Watch it just to see Koulikovskaya. An upset would be a bonus.
(3) Sanchez-Vicario vs. Marrero. Marrero, you may recall, is the player who beat the Sanchez-Vicario at Roland Garros.

(7) Matevzic vs. Zvonareva. Zvonareva is one of the hottest young prospects on the Tour. This has high upset potential.

Montolio vs. (4) Sucha. Montolio started the year in the Top 25, and it was all because of clay. She's slumped dreadfully since, but she did win one title this year, and this is just the sort of event where she cleaned up in the past.
(8) Serna vs. Talaja. Talaja has never recovered her form of a few years back, but you never know what will happen when Serna plays.
Second Round

(1) Farina Elia vs. Rittner or Leon Garcia. Farina Elia likes clay enough that she stayed in Europe when all the other top players headed for the U. S. But so did her opponents....

Garbin vs. (5) Torrens Valero. Garbin is very inconsistent. But that inconsistency gives her the ability to surprise people....
Svensson vs. (2) Schnyder. A Fed Cup rematch.

The Rankings.
It's going to be a quiet week at the top; Serena Williams is going to remain #1 and Venus Williams #2. Below that, all is chaos. Jennifer Capriati's lead over Monica Seles is only 41 points. Seles, it is true, has points to defend and Capriati doesn't. But if Seles can reach the final, she is almost certainly going to be #3.

Kim Clijsters is just barely clinging to the #5 spot. She probably can't keep it up much longer. Even if she defends, she's likely to fall to #6. She might even fall to #7. If she doesn't make the final, she is certain to fall to #7, with Jelena Dokic and Justine Hénin moving up. Lose in the first round, and it appears she will fall all the way to #8, with Martina Hingis briefly regaining #7.
Lindsay Davenport is safe at #9, though there doesn't appear to be any prospect of her moving up at this time. (Maybe next week, when Hingis loses some points.) Amélie Mauresmo will stay at #10.

The other player with a lot on the line is Meghann Shaughnessy, who beat Venus Williams last year. She is currently #19, and looks very likely to fall out of the Top 20. She might end up around #23 if she loses early.

Jul 23rd, 2002, 07:50 AM
Venus, Davenport entered at Bank of the West Classic
July 23, 2002

STANFORD, CALIFORNIA (TICKER) -- Lindsay Davenport plays her first tournament this year, while fellow American Venus Williams plays for the first time since Wimbledon at the $565,000 Bank of the West Classic.

Sidelined since November, Davenport played for the United States in Fed Cup qualifying over the weekend. She defeated Anna Smashnova in straight sets Saturday before posting a 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1) victory over Tzipora Obziler on Sunday to help the U.S. qualify for the 2003 World Group with a 5-0 romp over Israel.

The 26-year-old Davenport ended last year and 1998 as the No. 1 ranked woman. She lost in the final of this event each of the past two years after defeating Williams in the final in 1998 and 1999.

Williams is world's second-ranked woman. She was No. 1 earlier this season and will be playing for the first time since suferring a 7-6, 6-3 loss to younger sister Serena in the final at Wimbledon.

Venus Williams has four titles this season, with the most recent coming at the Bausch & Lomb Championships. She defeated Davenport in straight sets in the final here two years ago.

American Monica Seles, who played with Davenport for the U.S. over the weekend, is the third seed. Seles has two titles this season and is playing for the first time since losing to Belgium's Justine Henin in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.

Fourth seed Kim Clijsters of Belgium posted a 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1 win over Davenport in the final last year.

The top four seeds received first-round byes.

No. 5 Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia swept past American Amy Frazier, 6-3, 7-5, in Monday's lone match involving a seeded player.

"I've had a week and a half off," Dokic said. "I've played a lot of tournaments; mentally, I was tired. There's still a lot of summer left. It's a long hardcourt season, there are a lot of tournaments to be played."

In matches involving unseeded players, Meilen Tu disposed of fellow American Alexandra Stevenson, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, and Spain's Conchita Martinez won a battle of wild cards, 6-3, 6-3 over Laura Granville of the United States.

First prize is $93,000.

Jul 23rd, 2002, 10:00 PM
Take this title, Venus!:bounce:

Jul 24th, 2002, 02:25 AM
Venus Time

Evening session (starting at 7:30p.m.)
Williams vs. Shaughnessy
Followed by (on first available court)
Raymond / Stubbs vs. Grande / Tarabini or Kalvaria / Lastra

Stadium 2 - Starting at 1:00 pm
Husarova / Martinez vs. Dokic / Tanasugarn
Fusai / Vis or Granville / Hopkins vs. Augustus / Rippner

Evening session (starting at 7:30p.m.)
Bedanova vs. Jankovic

:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :kiss: :kiss: :kiss: :kiss: :bounce: :bounce:

Jul 24th, 2002, 03:24 PM
Oh No.... She's in white again....


Jul 24th, 2002, 03:41 PM
Heehee Queeno :p Apparently Vee is determined to keep to neutral colours this year---she probably decided to leave all the colour to her housemate...

Jul 24th, 2002, 08:45 PM
Venus has a tough 2nd round match. Yikes!

:eek: :eek: :eek:

Let's go, Venus!


Jul 24th, 2002, 09:52 PM
Williams resumes tournament play Wednesday, July 24, 2002

(07-24) 11:55 PDT STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Nearly three weeks after losing the No. 1 ranking -- and the title at Wimbledon -- Venus Williams resumes tournament play at the Bank of the West Classic this week with her sights set on getting back to the top.

"My Grand Slam record was so nice for awhile, now it's a little marred," Williams said Wednesday as she prepared to meet Meghann Shaughnessy in the second round on Thursday. "More than anything I'd like to play well here." Williams brings a 41-6 record, with four tournament titles, into this year's event at the Taube Family Tennis Center.

Three of those losses have come to her younger sister, Serena, including the finals at the French Open and Wimbledon. "She's a great player," said Williams. "You have to play well or go home with a loss. Sometimes I play well and still lose." Williams, a two-time Wimbledon champion, returns to her professional roots this week. She made her debut at this event when it was held at the Oakland Coliseum Arena. She won the title at Stanford in 1999 and 2000, but was upset by Shaughnessy in last year's quarterfinals.

"That seems like so long ago," said Williams. "I wouldn't call it revenge, but I do hate losing. I just have to play consistently and serve well." Williams, ranked second in the world (and in her own family), took a week off following her loss in England. She returned to practice with the goal of using the summer tournaments to get ready for the U.S. Open in New York and yet another possible showdown with her sister.

"This has always been a great tournament," said Williams. "I want to make sure I'm technically sound and build confidence. I'm always confident, but it's better when you're playing well. I love being in California and I enjoy this part of the year. For me, it's somewhat cool. Florida can get crazy hot. Now I have to wear sweaters."

The top-seeded Williams is one of six players among the top nine entered in the tournament. American Monica Seles (No. 4), defending champion Kim Clijsters (5) of Belgium, Yugoslavia's Jelena Dokic (6) and American Lindsay Davenport (9) are all still alive, while Belgium's Justine Henin (7) was upset by American Marissa Irvin in the first round on Tuesday. "I think I'm ready," said Williams

:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

Jul 24th, 2002, 11:17 PM
I hope not Infiniti ;) the girl needs some color ASAP :)


Williams Rulez
Jul 25th, 2002, 09:53 AM
Venus looks great! :D

Jul 25th, 2002, 04:46 PM
Let's go Venus, you're looking good!:bounce:

Stay focused, and take this title!:bounce:

Jul 26th, 2002, 05:01 AM
Venus Won won 6/4 6/1 :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

Alright Queen :kiss: :kiss:

BTW: The BOW is one sorry ass site!! No Live Scores :mad: :fiery:

Jul 26th, 2002, 06:04 AM
:eek: :eek: :eek: white


Jul 26th, 2002, 06:27 AM

Jul 26th, 2002, 02:52 PM
The eyebrows are cleaned up


Jul 26th, 2002, 03:05 PM
Court #1

12:00 PM [5] Jelena Dokic (YUG) vs. [2] Lindsay Davenport (USA)
1:30 PM TBD vs. [4] Kim Clijsters (BEL)
3:00 PM [3] Monica Seles (USA) vs. Lisa Raymond (USA)
7:30 PM [1] Venus Williams (USA) vs. Anna Kournikova (RUS)
9:00 PM [3] Anna Kournikova (RUS) / Meghann Shaughnessy (USA) vs. Amy Frazier (USA) / Abigail Spears (USA)

Go Venus :bounce: :bounce: :kiss: :kiss: :bounce: :bounce:

Jul 26th, 2002, 04:28 PM
Kournikova up next in Bank of West


Talk about time passing.

It was almost eight years ago, on the last day of October in 1994, that a gangly 14-year-old named Venus Williams made her professional debut right here in the Bay Area, in the Bank of the West Classic.

Now, at 22, she's back in the tournament where it all started, but the circumstances are more than a little different. She's not a kid anymore, and her game has matured along with the rest of her.

Williams, the No. 2-ranked player in the world (to younger sister Serena) and the top seed in the Bank of the West, started slowly Thursday night but then overwhelmed Meghann Shaughnessy in a 6-4, 6-1 second-round victory at Taube Tennis Stadium that avenged the upset Shaughnessy scored over Williams in the quarterfinals here last year.

With the win, Williams moved into the quarterfinals tonight against unseeded Anna Kournikova, who beat Wynne Prakusya 7-5, 6-4 earlier Thursday.

Shaughnessy opened as if she planned to thwart Williams again, bolting to a 4-2 lead in the first set. But Williams then won nine straight games, unfurling her full arsenal, before Shaughnessy finally held serve in the next- to-last game of the match.

Williams said she had been "a little bit distracted" early by a match going on simultaneously on the adjacent court.

"There were a lot of quick points, and she was just trying to go for broke, " Williams said, "but I felt very confident from the baseline, and very confident in my shots."

It showed.

"She raised her level and I dropped mine," said Shaughnessy, who currently is ranked No. 19. "After she got a little more rhythm, I started playing too defensively. I didn't serve as well in the second set, and that changed the whole momentum of the match."

Williams said she was "a lot more prepared" coming into the Bank of the West than she was last year, noting that she took a little too much time off after Wimbledon in 2001, and adding, "I'm a different person now."

In an afternoon match, Kournikova had a tougher time against Prakusya than she did Tuesday night in upsetting Anna Smashnova.

"After winning my first match here, it was important for me to play well," Kournikova said, "but I stepped back with my tactics today. She (Prakusya) is very quick, and keeps the ball low."

It largely was a battle of service breaks.

In the second set, Kournikova trailed 2-0 before tying it, but each player then lost her serve two more times, before Kournikova gained a third break in the final game to take the match.

"It wasn't like we were serving bad," Kournikova said. "We both were winning the points off each other's serve because we were returning well."

Tonight, Kournikova will be trying to avert a third straight loss in the Bank of the West to Williams, who beat her in the quarterfinals in 1999 and the semifinals in 2000.

NOTES: The upset run of former Stanford player Marissa Irvin ended with a 6- 1, 6-4 loss to Lisa Raymond Thursday afternoon.

No. 2 seed Lindsay Davenport will be on stage early in the quarterfinals today, facing No. 5 seed Jelena Dokic at noon. Following that match, No. 4 seed Kim Clijsters, the defending champion, will be in action in the second quarterfinal, with two-time Bank of the West champion and No. 3 seed Monica Seles going in the third quarterfinal.

Jul 26th, 2002, 06:39 PM
Venus Routs Shaughnessy

PALO ALTO, California (Reuters) - Top seed Venus Williams gained a measure of revenge over Meghann Shaughnessy with an easy 6-4 6-1 win to move into the quarter-finals of the Bank of the West Classic on Thursday.

Williams will play the resurgent Russian Anna Kournikova, who won back-to-back matches for the first time since mid-May, defeating Indonesia's Wynne Prakusya 7-5 6-4.

American veteran Lisa Raymond also triumphed, defeating Marissa Irvin 6-1 6-4 and she now meets third seed Monica Seles for a place in the last four.

In the day's other late match, Yugoslavian teenage wildcard Jelena Jankovic stunned seventh-seeded Daja Bedanova 7-6 2-6 6-3 to set up a quarter-final against defending champion Kim Clijsters.

Playing in her first match since falling to her sister Serena in the Wimbledon final, Williams served efficiently and with great variety, outfoxing Shaughnessy in crosscourt rallies and eating up her opponent's second serve.

Last year, Shaughnessy shocked Williams in a three sets but this time the top seed set up her victory by winning nine straight games after falling 4-2 behind.

At this event, singles matches are played on adjacent courts and Williams said she was initially distracted by the Bedanova-Jankovic contest going on next to them.

"When I finally settled shown, I felt very confident from the baseline," she said.

"This year, I was a more prepared.

"Last year, I was too settled and didn't practice before I came here. Sometimes when you think you are at your strongest, you are at a your weakest."


A disappointed Shaughnessy said she failed to raise her game when Williams stepped up the pace.

"Because I had beaten her before I thought, 'Why not again?', but to do that I'd have to put together better tennis than I did tonight," Shaughnessy said.

Williams, who has lost the last two grand slam finals and world number one ranking to her younger sibling, said that she had recovered from those losses and planned to spend the next five weeks leading into the U.S. Open firming up her game.

In a contest that featured numerous breaks of serve, the number 55-ranked Kournikova proved to be the smarter player on the day, frequently drawing the shorter Prakusya into the net and passing her with sharply angled volleys or groundstrokes.

While both women rarely served above 80mph, Kournikova battled back from deficits in both sets, powering winners or dominating the net on the big points.


"I didn't play as well as I played in the first match (against eighth seed Anna Smashnova) but it's great to not play well and still win," Kournikova said.

"Two months ago, I wouldn't have been able to pull it off but I stepped back a little from my tactics and when I began to be more aggressive, the results were there.

"I came on court a little too excited.

"The fact that I won two matches in a row is exciting. No matter that happens tomorrow, it's already been a great tournament and great step forward."

Kournikova is 0-7 against Williams, including two losses here in 1999 and 2000 and two earlier this season in Antwerp and Dubai.

"She's playing amazing tennis, but I have nothing to lose so I'll go out and try to stay on the court as long as I can," she said.

"It's really difficult to come in against any player who hits the ball as fast and as deep as Venus," Kournikova said. "I'm going to have to be creative and try to open the court up."

Williams doesn't expect an easy contest.

"I have a lot of respect for her as an athlete more than anything," Williams said. "She moves well and improvises but has had her fair share of bad luck.

"Hopefully, I'll maintain my good record against her."

In Friday's other quarter-final, second seed Lindsay Davenport will face fifth seed Jelena Dokic.

Jul 27th, 2002, 05:26 AM
Venus wins 6/3 6/4

Venus ousts Kournikova, joins Davenport in semis

Associated Press

STANFORD, Calif. -- Top-seeded Venus Williams overcame a feisty performance by Anna Kournikova, winning 6-3, 6-4 Friday night to advance to the semifinals of the Bank of the West Classic.

Williams used her powerful serve, which reached 116 mph early in the match, to best a strong effort from the popular Kournikova, who had two victories earlier in the week after a five-match losing streak.

Lindsay Davenport and Kim Clijsters also advanced to a semifinal meeting with victories at the Taube Family Tennis Center. Williams will face Lisa Raymond, who upset third-seeded Monica Seles.

Kournikova broke Williams' serve and took a lead in both sets, but Williams rallied twice for her eighth straight victory over Kournikova. Williams won the final four games of the match.

Kournikova spiked several balls on the court in frustration and questioned several line calls. But she made a string of unforced errors in the first set, and she struggled against Williams' serve late in the second set.

Earlier, Raymond beat Seles 6-4, 6-2. The second-seeded Davenport defeated No. 5 Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia 6-2, 6-2, while Clijsters beat wild card Jelena Jankovic 7-5, 6-3.

Seles, a nine-time Grand Slam champion who reached the quarterfinals of the French Open and Wimbledon this year, was simply overpowered by her U.S. Fed Cup teammate on a hot day.

"I feel great about going out there and maintaining that level of tennis for two straight sets,'' Raymond said. "I know it's been in me. It was just a matter of believing in myself. When I get out there with a top player, I don't believe I should be out on the court with them sometimes.''

Raymond, a doubles specialist who won her third career singles tournament at Memphis earlier this year, hit serves reaching 104 mph and rarely made errors. She needed just 58 minutes to earn her second career victory over Seles, a two-time winner at Stanford.

"She just played really well,'' said Seles, ranked No. 4. "She was serving well and hitting her forehand, and whenever I had chances, I made a lot of unforced errors. I have to play a better level of tennis if I want to beat a player like that.''

Raymond lost handily to Williams in the fourth round at Wimbledon earlier this summer.

In the first match of the day, Davenport looked as comfortable as she did in earning the world's top ranking in 2001 before a right knee injury ended her season in November.

"I have far exceeded my expectations by the way I'm playing,'' said Davenport, who fell to No. 9 while she was out. "I've been off for more than nine months, and I didn't know how I'd react.''

Davenport reacted with grace and fluidity on the court, overpowering the sixth-ranked player with hard ground strokes and placement in 48 minutes.

"I had the same problems against her I had before,'' said Dokic, who fell to 0-7 against Davenport. "I didn't see a difference. It seems like she's hitting the ball better. I'm very surprised at the way she's playing. I didn't think she'd be playing that well coming back.''

Davenport, 5-of-6 on break points against Dokic, returned to action with two Fed Cup matches last weekend against Israel.

"I'm amazed. These are new waters for me,'' Davenport said. "I've had two really good matches, and I'm proud of the way I've come back. Now I have to try and keep playing at this level.''

Clijsters, the defending champion and fourth seed, was impressed by her 17-year-old opponent's mobility. But with her boyfriend, No. 1 men's star Lleyton Hewitt, watching from the stands, Clijsters easily advanced to the semifinals.

"I felt like I had to be a little bit more aggressive, because she was getting to all the balls I was hitting,'' said Clijsters, who asked her younger sister for a scouting report on Jankovic. "She runs really well, and she hits the ball hard.''

Venus Williams returns a shot to Anna Kournikova in the quarterfinals of the Bank of the West Classic



:bounce: :kiss: :bounce: :kiss: :bounce: :kiss: :bounce: :hearts:
Go Queen....

Jul 27th, 2002, 06:15 AM
Schedule - Saturday 27 July 2002

Stadium 1 - Starting at 1:30pm:
Williams vs. Raymond
After suitable rest:
Raymond / Stubbs vs. Kournikova / Shaughnessy or Frazier / Spears

Evening session (starting at 7:30p.m.)
Clijsters vs. Davenport
Husarova / Martinez vs. Augustus / Rippner

Go Queen

:bounce: :angel: :bounce: :angel: :bounce: :angel: :bounce: :angel: :bounce:

Jul 27th, 2002, 06:33 AM
I'm doing great UK. I just saw your post :rolleyes:




Jul 27th, 2002, 06:41 AM
Nice pics!! Thanks Queeno... Meanwhile

Anna Kournikova's best tennis in some time still is no match for Venus Williams.
Kournikova recent resurgence ended Friday with a 6-3, 6-4 loss to the top-seeded Williams, who marched into the semifinals of the $565,000 Bank of the West Classic.
Kournikova had won her first two matches at this hardcourt event, forcing tennis folk to talk about something other than her looks. But the Russian fell to 0-8 all-time against Williams, playing a gambling style that did not pay off.

"I was returning really well today," Kournikova said. "It was about the points itself. I tried to go for it. Venus was really moving well today."
At 4-4 and deuce in the second set, Kournikova double-faulted and netted a backhand shot. Williams served out the match, forcing two errors at 30-all.
"I did expect her to play well," Williams said. "She went for broke."
Kournikova, 21, was playing in her first WTA quarterfinal in nearly five months. She reached semifinals at Tokyo in January and Acapulco in March.
"Coming here, I didn't expect anything," Kournikova said. "My hard work, you can see that (it paid off)."
A three-time winner on tour this year, Williams wants a victory at Taube Tennis Center. She has not captured a trophy since winning at Amelia Island in April, falling to Belgium's Kim Clijsters at the Hamburg final in May and was runner-up to younger sister Serena at the French Open and Wimbledon.
Next for Williams is Lisa Raymond, who pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament thus far with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over third-seeded American compatriot Monica Seles.
"I was looking forward to play Monica only because I need a few more points," Williams joked. "I'm greedy."
Known primarily as the world's top-ranked doubles player with partner Rennae Stubbs, Raymond is making inroads on the singles circuit. She won in Memphis earlier this year and has played well here.
"It's just a matter of believing in myself," Raymond said. "It's something that's been holding me back against a top-10 player. ... Whatever happens (against Williams), I still gained a lot of confidence from this."
At Wimbledon, Williams routed Raymond, 6-1, 6-2, in the round of 16.
Raymond's win ruined a semifinal that could have featured the top four seeds. Form held in the other quarterfinals as No. 2 Lindsey Davenport and No. 5 Clijsters both won in straight sets.
Playing in her first event this year, Davenport cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over No. 5 Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia. She has not really been tested since returning from knee surgery and the ensuing rehabilitation.
"My body feels good," she said. "I'm just trying to strengthen everything. I've been working in the gym."

"It's been nine months," Dokic said. "She seems real fresh. I'm very surprised (with) the way she came back."
On Saturday, Davenport will face Clijsters, who eliminated Jelena Jankovic of Yugoslavia, 7-5, 6-3.

"I really don't know what to expect," Davenport said. "Today it felt so normal. I was confident with the shots I was going for."

First prize is $93,000.

Jul 27th, 2002, 03:10 PM
lol Queen O :p

NIce pics of Vee

Good luck against Lisa :wavey:

Jul 28th, 2002, 01:46 AM
Lisa who....:p 6/3 6/0

Jul 28th, 2002, 01:48 AM
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- With her booming serve falling perfectly, Venus Williams was simply too much for Lisa Raymond.

Top-seeded Williams overpowered her unseeded challenger 6-3, 6-0 Saturday in the semifinals of the Bank Of the West Classic.

Williams, ranked No. 2 in the world behind her sister, Serena, hammered serves in excess of 113 mph at times to fluster Raymond, ranked No. 28.

``It's always pretty effective, but when it's really effective it's better for me,'' Williams said about her serve. ``It makes the match a little easier.''
Williams advanced to the Bank of the West final for the fourth time. She won the event in 2000 with a victory over Lindsay Davenport.

Davenport, the second seed, was playing in the other semifinal match later Saturday against fourth-seeded Kim Clijsters, the defending champion. Williams and Davenport have met in the final at Stanford three times.

With father Richard looking on, Williams sealed the first set with two consecutive aces, the first at 111 mph and the second at 110 mph.

In the second set, Raymond held nothing back, laboring to hit winners from the baseline. But Williams was too poised, putting the match away in 51 minutes.

Raymond remained good-natured throughout, raising her hands in victory when she won a rare point in the second set. The crowd at Taube Family Tennis Stadium responded with warm applause.

``I think if I'd kept it a little closer I would have had a better chance,'' she said.

Raymond, at 28 the oldest player in the semifinals, won the title at Memphis earlier this year. She upset third-seeded Monica Seles Friday in the quarterfinals to advance.

Williams, who defeated Anna Kournikova to reach the semifinals, went up 4-0 in the second set with two aces and a service winner that Raymond couldn't handle. She finished the match with nine aces.

Williams lost to her sister in the Wimbledon final, dropping to the No. 2 ranking.

``Once you get to No. 1, it's not so nice to go back to No. 2,'' she said. ``Once you get to that level, you try to maintain it.''

Serena Williams was not playing in the Bank of the West, but was spotted down in Los Angles taking in the Mercedes-Benz Cup match between Andre Agassi and Gustavo Kuerten Friday.

``Maybe she's trying to learn something,'' Williams said, ``Maybe I should be there, too.''

Kournikova was forced to withdraw from her doubles semifinal match Saturday afternoon because of an abdominal strain. Kournikova and partner Meghann Shaughnessy were scheduled to play Raymond and Rennae Stubbs.

Kournikova suffered the strain in practice on Friday and aggravated during her matches. She will be reevaluated to determine her status for next week's Acura Classic in San Diego.

Jul 28th, 2002, 01:53 AM





Jul 28th, 2002, 03:11 AM

Jul 28th, 2002, 03:36 AM
infiniti check out this pics


Jul 28th, 2002, 06:24 AM
Thanks Babe...

Go Venus win the title... :bounce: :bounce:

Jul 28th, 2002, 07:10 AM
Yes, all the way, Venus!

Take this title!

Jul 28th, 2002, 11:59 PM
Williams clobbers Clijsters for title in Stanford

Stanford, CA (Sports Network) - Top-seeded Venus Williams beat fourth-seeded Kim Clijsters, 6-3, 6-3, in the final of the $585,000 Bank of the West Classic on Sunday afternoon at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

Williams avenged a loss to Clijsters in the final in Hamburg earlier this year and improved to 2-1 against the world No. 5 Belgian. Williams also beat Clijsters in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open last year.

Williams finished the match with four aces, the fastest of which was clocked at 116-mph. The 22-year-old American converted 4-of-4 break points to capture her 26th career singles title, which includes an Olympic gold.

Ranked No. 2 behind her sister, Serena, Williams won this event for the second time in four appearances in the final. She won the event in 2000 with a victory over Lindsay Davenport and lost to Davenport in the 1998 and 1999 finals.

Williams overpowered Lisa Raymond, 6-3, 6-0, in just 51 minutes in Saturday's semifinals. Clijsters, the defending champion, rallied for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win in Saturday's other semifinal over Davenport. The 19-year-old beat Davenport in last year's title match.

Davenport had reached the final at this event in each of the previous four years.

Williams pocketed $93,000 for Sunday's win.

:bounce: :kiss: :bounce: :kiss: :bounce: :hearts: :bounce: :hearts:

Jul 29th, 2002, 12:02 AM




Venus Williams raises the trophy by Tiffany's after her win over Kim Clijsters in the finals of the Bank of the West Classic on July 28, 2002

Carlos Santana at the Venus match

Jul 29th, 2002, 12:05 AM

Venus looking to rekindle competitive fire


PALO ALTO, Calif. -- After two years of dominating her sport during the summer months, Venus Williams concedes that her sister Serena went into the French Open and Wimbledon with more fire in her eyes than she had.

"I was once in the position that she was and you fight as if you are wild," Venus said after beating Kim Clijsters for the $585,000 Bank of the West Classic title on Sunday.

"I was still cruising on two great years and she was clawing her way through. She had much more fight. I was a little tired because it had been a couple of long seasons for me.

"There are a lot of factors that go into winning Grand Slams and I wasn't the best player in the last two. It's been a lot of everything for me."

However, Venus -- who lost her No. 1 ranking to Serena at Wimbledon and stands nearly 1,000 points behind her younger sibling -- aims to change the current state of affairs.

During the Bank of the West Classic and for the remaining weeks leading up to the U.S. Open, the four-time Grand Slam winner is making technical changes to her game that she believes again may give her the edge over Serena.

Despite reaching both finals, her famed booming serve let her down in Paris and London and she wasn't returning or cracking her groundstrokes with her normal verve.

Serena ate up Venus's second serves on both occasions, putting her older sister on the defensive.

"My techniques were weak and it's obviously hurt me a lot, " Venus said. "It's hard to change that when it happens. I tried really hard against Serena at Wimbledon. My serve was really great until the final and then I couldn't make it do what I wanted to.

"With my second serve, sometimes I'll go for it and sometimes I'll put more spin on it, but what I really need to do is be clearer in my mind what I want to do with it when I get out on court.

"It's hard to change your mind once your already in the match," she added.

Venus's technical problems have led to a loss of confidence against Serena, an unusual position for the two-time Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion to be in.

"If you aren't doing everything right, it gives you much less confidence in all your shots, especially at the slams," Williams said. "I wasn't able to do as much as I wanted to against Serena as I did against other players.

"Someone like Serena goes for every shot."

While Venus concedes that regaining her confidence against Serena will be a big factor in determining who will win the U.S. Open should they meet, she said that a more ambitious style of play may be the key to her success.

"I have to start coming into net a little bit more," she said. "I play a lot better when I come in. It makes it a lot easier on me."

Given that she has to defend titles in San Diego, New Haven and at Flushing Meadows and that Serena only has to defend her Canadian Open title and reach the final in New York, it is highly unlikely that Venus can regain her No. 1 ranking until the autumn.

But Venus has plans to end the year as the world's top-ranked player.

"I hope it's me," Venus said. "I'm a competitor, too."

Jul 29th, 2002, 12:18 AM

Jul 29th, 2002, 12:25 AM
To win Bank of the West title

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - There's more to Venus Williams than pure power.

With savvy shotmaking - and, of course, her booming serve - Williams defeated Belgian Kim Clijsters 6-3, 6-3 Sunday to win the Bank of the West Classic title.

Williams, the top seed, won her fifth title of the year to maintain her No. 2 ranking behind sister Serena Williams, the Wimbledon champion.

Clijsters, the fourth seed and defending champion, will fall from No. 5 in the world to No. 7 with the loss at Taube Family Tennis Center.

Clijsters, with boyfriend and top-ranked men's star Lleyton Hewitt looking on, valiantly tried to keep up with the lanky Williams, who fired off a 112-mph ace to seal the first set.

Williams kept her 19-year-old opponent on the run throughout the 1-hour, 4-minute match with precise shots, compensating for an uncharacteristic 10 double-faults.

She thwarted Clijsters in the opening game of the second set with a perfectly executed tap that just cleared the net.

When Clijsters double-faulted later in the set, she visibly shrugged in frustration. For the next point, Williams blasted her with an unreturnable smash and went up 3-0.

Down 4-0 in the set, Clijsters wouldn't give in. She finally broke Williams, who was serving for the match to narrow it to 5-3.

"It was good to break her in that match," Clijsters said. "She's got so much power. She hardly made any unforced errors, I think."

Williams, closely watched by her father Richard and the sellout crowd, came right back to break Clijsters for the victory.

"That's why she was No. 1, when she feels she needs to, she does a little bit extra," said Clijsters, who struggled recently with shoulder and upper arm pain.

Williams beat Lisa Raymond in the semifinals to advance in the $585,000 tournament. Clijsters upset second-seeded Lindsay Davenport, who played in her first tournament in nine months after a knee injury.

Earlier this year, Clijsters beat Williams in the final at Hamburg to even their career series at 1-1. Williams won in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open last year.

Williams, who made her eighth appearance at Stanford, won the title in 2000 with a victory over two-time champion Davenport.

Clijsters, whose lone title this year came at Hamburg, defeated Davenport in the Bank of the West last year.

Serena Williams, who took the No. 1 rank from her older sister with her victory at Wimbledon, did not play in the Northern California event.

10 DF's :eek:

Jul 29th, 2002, 04:57 AM
Congratulations Venus!

You done good.:kiss:

Jul 29th, 2002, 04:32 PM
Not much opposition for classy Williams
By Bruce Jenkins, Chronicle Staff Writer
San Francisco Chronicle

THE BATTLE ends so quickly for Venus Williams. One last punishing shot,

an earnest handshake at the net, and then she's an entirely new person.

With graceful, carefree waves to the crowd, she looks like an upscale socialite about to embark on a Caribbean cruise. The rest of us stand dockside,

hoping she has a wonderful time.

To catch her in that moment, you couldn't imagine the single-minded destruction that preceded it. In a vintage Sunday performance that humbled Kim Clijsters, brought gasps of appreciation from the crowd and earned her the Bank of the West title at Stanford, Venus gave everyone a taste of big-time power tennis -- for now and the foreseeable future.

Because the outcome seems so inevitable (against anyone but her sister, Serena), and because she's too classy to spice up a match with obscenities or broken rackets, the mind tends to wander while watching Venus. It drifts into the past, and an era of tennis that makes a 30-year gap seem like a century.

Before the Jimmy Connors-led crew came along and changed everything, crushing the two-handed backhand and fostering an attitude of relentless baseline aggression, the game was played in relative slow motion -- and that's the men's game we're talking about. Watching the old films, it is not merely obvious that players used wooden rackets and an infinite variety of shots. They didn't think like Venus Williams or the other big names in women's tennis today. Even fiery competitors like Pancho Gonzales and Tony Trabert didn't unload a full-power laser beam on every single shot.

"When you're playing Venus," Clijsters said afterward, "you feel like every shot has to be perfect. She hits the ball so hard and has so much range, you just can't make any mistakes."

So how good is the women's game, relative to the men? Watching Venus against Andre Agassi might not be a pretty sight, but what about the John McEnroe challenge that seems to surface every few months? The purists scoff, and without question, the thing could turn into a circus, but it might not be long before the women's tour runs out of legitimate opposition and McEnroe seems a worthy alternative.

Even at 43, McEnroe could confound Venus with his big-bending, left-handed serve. At close range, trying to catch up to her fearsome groundstrokes, he might not be so quick to belittle Venus or any other female player. Still, he'd throw a little imagination into the match, with his volleys and touch and general court sense. Martina Hingis is a thoughtful player when healthy, but nobody else offers the Williams sisters any kind of strategic challenge -- and even at that, Hingis stays mostly at the baseline.

What McEnroe could do, if not win the match outright, is provide a spark. There would have to be somebody out there to recognize the inherent genius in McEnroe's game. Maybe a 12-year-old prospect who looks beyond the baseline, who would rather hit her backhand with slice and topspin, with force and touch,

instead of turning loose the same shot every time. Then the sport would move forward.

Not that Venus doesn't have a few ideas. At 5-3 and 30-all in the first set,

she suddenly rushed to the net behind a forward-moving groundstroke. This amounted to Shaquille O'Neal shooting an underhand free throw, or Tiger Woods using Bernhard Langer's putter; you just don't see it.

Clijsters screamed as her passing shot was sent back, decisively, but in fact it was a lunging, backhanded volley winner from Venus -- a fleeting meteor for now, but perhaps a sign of the future. She also surprised everyone with an exquisite forehand drop shot, from just inside the baseline, so perfect that even Clijsters' quick reaction wasn't enough.

Such moments are telling when it comes to Venus' staying power in the public eye. Commissioners argue for parity but the fans know better; they enjoy great teams and truly dominant athletes. The brand of appeal comes from all directions: style (Muhammad Ali), humility (Derek Jeter), arrogance (Pedro Martinez), well-timed emotion (Woods). There is great beauty in Venus' stoicism, but if her game takes on additional depth and creativity, there will be a freshness to her command. And for Serena's, as well.

So there was Venus after Sunday's win, chatting comfortably with the press and reiterating that Stanford, and the whole Bay Area, is one of her favorite places. "I always have a great time here," she said. "Went to Pier 39 and Chinatown, did a lot of things. But not Alcatraz. That's always sold out."

Not to worry. At day's end, there's a cruise ship waiting for Venus. It's a very private line, with destinations fit only for her.

Jul 29th, 2002, 04:40 PM
Sun the only other star in Venus' constellation
By Ron Kroichick, Chronicle Staff Writer
San Francisco Chronicle

Sunday's finals in the Bank of the West Classic uncovered one opponent that flusters Venus Williams, one problem for which she has no solution. Yes, it's true: Williams cannot tell the sun to get out of the way.

As it turns out, that big yellow ball in the sky moves as the day progresses (gee, who knew?). This helped Williams overcome an unlikely obstacle standing between her and the tournament championship.

Williams rolled to a relentlessly routine 6-3, 6-3 victory over Kim Clijsters at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium. The win gave Williams her second Bank of the West title, accompanied by a tidy check for $93,000.

The win also illustrated the extent of Williams' mastery over the field. She occasionally tossed the ball into the air and stared straight into the sun,

seldom an advisable course of action. She occasionally struggled with her serve, double-faulting 10 times.

And, still, Clijsters never really had a chance.

Clijsters broke Williams' serve only once, late in the second set. By then, the tone was established, with Williams unleashing her power and accuracy every time she needed it -- serves, forehands, backhands, you name it.

Really, the only thing Williams could not fix was the sun. She was openly exasperated at times, clearly frustrated while serving on the north side of the court. Clijsters acknowledged similar difficulty during the mid-afternoon match, which began at 1:30.

"At one point, the ball was directly in the sun," Williams said. "I literally couldn't see the ball. The sun was at the apex of my toss, and I can't really toss it any lower. I'm tall.

"I had to move my toss around a bit. Once you do that, sometimes you get a little shaky."

Williams compensated for the sun, and those pesky double faults, by hitting many serves that Clijsters could barely touch. One of them was clocked at 119 miles per hour, the fastest of the tournament.

This spelled predictable futility for Clijsters, a top-10 player with impressive athleticism. Clijsters beat Williams the last time they met, in Hamburg, Germany, in May, but Williams provided few opportunities for an encore.

"Her double faults never came on a big moment," Clijsters said. "On the big moments she does a little bit extra, maybe focuses a little bit more."

Toss trouble and all, Williams was never in danger of losing her serve until late in the second set. She led 4-1 at the time, thanks to an array of searing groundstrokes -- the tennis equivalent of Randy Johnson fastballs, time after relentless time.

Then, finally, Clijsters found a small slice of hope. She had four break points in that one game, chances galore to put a modest dent in Williams' cloak of invincibility. Each time, the chances vanished -- either through a Clijsters error or a rise-to-the-moment shot by Williams.

Williams ultimately held serve to stretch her lead to 5-1. That's when Clijsters briefly toyed with a comeback, holding her own serve and then getting that elusive break, helped by two Williams double faults. Clijsters had moved within 5-3.

The crowd exhorted her, seeking some sort of drama, but Williams quickly ended those visions. Give her this: Much like Michael Jordan on the basketball court or Tiger Woods on the golf course, Venus knows how to seal the deal.

Soon enough, she will try to do exactly that at the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 26. Williams will seek her third consecutive Open title, a feat last achieved by Chris Evert, who won four straight from 1975 through '78.

If Williams plays as she did Sunday, even her sister Serena might be in trouble. Clijsters played well and still spun her wheels; she later said she felt like she needed to hit a perfect shot on virtually every point.

"I like to imagine that in order to beat me, the person will have to play almost perfect tennis," Williams said. "But it's not every day that I'm having as good a day as I had today."

DOUBLES FINALS: Lisa Raymond, convincingly bounced out of Saturday's singles semifinals by Williams, teamed with Rennae Stubbs to win the doubles title on Sunday. Raymond and Stubbs, the top seed, coasted to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Janette Husarova and Conchita Martinez.

Jul 29th, 2002, 06:25 PM

Jul 29th, 2002, 06:32 PM


Jul 29th, 2002, 06:35 PM

Jul 29th, 2002, 06:54 PM
V. Williams Wins Bank of the West

Filed at 4:47 a.m. ET

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Venus Williams has impeccable standards.

``I'd like to imagine that in order to beat me a person would have to play almost perfect tennis,'' she said.

Well, Kim Clijsters was far from perfect Sunday, and Williams won 6-3, 6-3 to capture the Bank of the West Classic.

``It's not easy, especially against Venus,'' Clijsters said. ``Every serve has to be good, placed well and has to be over 90 mph. ... You have to make sure every ball is hit perfect, because she moves so well.''

The top-seeded Williams won her fifth title of the year to maintain her No. 2 ranking behind sister Serena Williams. Clijsters, seeded fourth and the defending champion, will fall from No. 5 in the world to No. 7.

``To be honest, I think she played very well, too,'' Williams said. ``She brought out the best in me.''

Clijsters, with boyfriend and top-ranked men's star Lleyton Hewitt looking on, tried to keep up but was constantly on the run during the 64-minute match.

Williams had trouble with the sun at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium, double-faulting 10 times. But she compensated with patient play and precise shotmaking.

And her serve didn't totally leave her: She nailed a 112 mph ace to seal the first set and she was clocked at 119 during the match.

``The sun was definitely a factor,'' she said. ``I had to start moving my toss around a bit. And when you have to move your toss around, it gets a little shaky.''

She elevated the rest of her game. She thwarted Clijsters to start the second set with a tap that just cleared the net.

When Clijsters double-faulted later in the set, she shrugged in frustration. For the next point, Williams sent a smash that could not be returned and went up 3-0.

Down 4-0 in the second set, Clijsters wouldn't give in. She finally broke Williams, who was serving for the match, to narrow it to 5-3. It was the 19-year-old Belgian's only break.

``It was good to break her in that match,'' Clijsters said. ``She's got so much power. She hardly made any unforced errors, I think.''

Williams, closely watched by her father Richard and the supportive sellout crowd, came back to break Clijsters for the victory.

``That's one thing I respect about her,'' Williams said. ``She fights until the very end.''

Williams beat Lisa Raymond in the semifinals to advance in the $585,000 tournament. Clijsters upset second-seeded Lindsay Davenport, who played in her first WTA tournament in nine months after a knee injury.

Earlier this year, Clijsters beat Williams in the final at Hamburg, Germany, to even their career series at 1-1. Williams won in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open last year.

Williams, who made her eighth appearance at Stanford, won the title in 2000 with a victory over two-time champion Davenport.

Clijsters, whose lone title this year came at Hamburg, defeated Davenport in the Bank of the West last year.

Serena Williams, who took the No. 1 rank from her older sister with her victory at Wimbledon, did not play and was not playing in her sister's next event, the Acura Classic in San Diego.

In the doubles final Sunday, top-seeded Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs defeated Janette Husarova and Conchita Martinez, 6-1, 6-1. The winners advanced to the final when Anna Kournikova withdrew from the semifinal with partner Meghann Shaughnessy because of an abdominal strain.