SEMIFINALS - Fox Sports Net, National Cable - Live *
Saturday, August 3rd 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. PST (Semi #1)
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. PST (Semi #2)
FINALS -- ABC - Live *
Sunday, August 4th - 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. PST
Additionally, the tournament is part of the Sanex WTA Tour's international tennis package which will reach a potential international viewership of over 457 million homes. The tournament will be televised in Australia, Europe, China, Japan, the Middle East, Russia, South America and South Africa.
* Please check your local listings to confirm telecast times
Jul 24th, 2002, 11:49 PM
2002 Acura Classic Main Draw
1- Venus Williams - bye
Adriana Serra Zanetti vs. Janette Husarova
Q- Greta Arn vs. Mary Pierce
15- Anne Kremer - bye
10- Magdalena Maleeva - bye
Tina Pisnik vs. Nathalie Dechy
Eleni Daniilidou vs. Emmanuelle Gagliardi
5- Kim Clijsters - bye
3- Lindsay Davenport - bye
Iroda Tulyaganova vs. Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian
Q- Sarah Taylor vs. Amanda Coetzer
14- Chanda Rubin - bye
11- Daja Bedanova - bye
Katarina Srebotnik vs. WC- Allison Bradshaw
Lisa Raymond vs. Ai Sugiyama
7- Daniela Hantuchova - bye
8- Elena Dementieva - bye
Q- Wynne Prakusya vs. Paola Suarez
Amy Frazier vs. Marissa Irvin
12- Anna Smashnova - bye
16- Tatiana Panova - bye
Elena Likhovtseva vs. WC- Conchita Martinez
Alexandra Stevenson vs. Anna Kournikova
LL- Jennifer Hopkins - bye
6- Jelena Dokic - bye
Gala Leon Garcia vs. Alicia Molik
Tamarine Tanasugarn vs. Francesca Schiavone
9- Anastasia Myskina - bye
13- Meghann Shaughnessy - bye
Q- Cara Black vs. Meilen Tu
Rita Grande vs. WC- Ashley Harkleroad
2- Jennifer Capriati
Player World Ranking Country
Venus Williams 1 USA
Jennifer Capriati 3 USA
Monica Seles 4 USA (OUT)
Kim Clijsters 5 Belgium
Justine Henin 6 Belgium
Jelena Dokic 7 Yugoslavia
Lindsay Davenport 8 USA
Daniela Hantuchova 12 Slovakia
Elena Dementieva 14 Russia
Anastasia Myskina 15 Russia
Meghann Shaughnessy 16 USA
Anna Smashnova 17 Israel
Magdalena Maleeva 19 Bulgaria
Iroda Tulyaganova 20 Uzbekistan
Daja Bedanova 21 Czech Republic
Anne Kremer 22 Luxembourg
Tatiana Panova 23 Russia
Tamarine Tanasugarn 24 Thailand
Chanda Rubin 27 USA
Nathalie Dechy 28 France
Alexandra Stevenson 29 USA
Ai Sugiyama 30 Japan
Paola Suarez 32 Argentina
Lisa Raymond 35 USA
Nicole Pratt 36 Australia
Amanda Coetzer 37 South Africa
Eleni Daniilidou 38 Greece
Rita Grande 39 Italy
Janette Husarova 41 Slovakia
Tina Pisnik 42 Slovenia
Adriana Serra Zanetti 44 Italy
Francesca Schiavone 45 Italy
Katarina Srebotnik 46 Slovenia
Emmanuelle Gagliardi 47 Switzerland
Elena Likhovtseva 48 Russia
Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian 49 Switzerland
Anna Kournikova 55 Russia
Rankings as of 6/24/02
Tuesday a.m. July 30 Jennifer Capriati vs. winner of Grande / Harkleroad
Kim Clijsters vs. winner of Daniilidou / Gagliardi
Chanda Rubin vs. winner of Coetzer / Qualifier
Tuesday p.m., July 30 Anna Kournikova vs. Alexandra Stevenson
Wednesday a.m. July 31 Monica Seles vs. winner of Kournikova / Stevenson
Lindsay Davenport vs. winner of Tulyagonova / Mikaelian
Daniela Hantuchova vs. winner of Raymond / Sugiyama
Wednesday p.m. July 31 :angel: Venus Williams vs. winner of Serrazanetti / Husarova
Jul 29th, 2002, 04:29 PM
Women's Look Forward: San Diego
BOB Larson's Tennis News
With the talk this year about a new "Mini Slam" format, someone should take a look at San Diego. This event, as far as the women are concerned, is already a mini slam. Over the past half dozen years, it's averaged a stronger field than the Australian Open. There have been other Tier II events with Slam-like fields -- notably Sydney, Filderstadt, and the extinct tournament at Philadelphia. But none has currently equals San Diego in that department. And of those "Big Four" of Tier II tournaments, none save San Diego is a 48-draw. This is, after the U. S. Open and Miami and the year-end championships, unquestionably the best (not biggest, but best) event on American soil.
This strength shows in the roster of San Diego champions. For the last five years, every player to win San Diego has been #1 at some time in her career: Venus Williams won it in 2000 and 2001, Martina Hingis in 1997 and 1999, Lindsay Davenport in 1998. The last non-#1 to win here was Kimiko Date in 1996. Other sometime-#1 players with titles here include Steffi Graf (1989, 1990, 1993, 1994) and Jennifer Capriati (1991, 1992). Since the tournament did not achieve Tier II status until 1989, that means that 11 of the 13 past winners have been sometime #1 players. Only eight other tournaments (Australian Open, Miami, Hamburg, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, Canadian Open, U. S. Open, and the year-end Championships) can claim such a strong set of titleists -- and all of those save Hamburg are bigger than San Diego.
This year's tournament won't be quite up to its usual standards -- Serena Williams isn't here, and Justine Henin and Martina Hingis are hurt. Amelie Mauresmo has gone back to skipping hardcourts. Still, that's six of the top ten, and all the hardcourters except Serena. And the players ranked #11-#25 are here in even greater force; Sandrine Testud is retired, and Silvia Farina Elia and Patty Schnyder and Iva Majoli are sticking with clay, but everyone else is here.
San Diego is also the first 48-draw event of the year (Los Angeles will also use this format). It is also the biggest Tier II in terms of prize money; only two events (San Diego and Bahia) are scheduled to offer the $650,000 or more to become a "super Tier II," and San Diego went above even that, to $750,000. That bonus means an extra 25 round points for the winner (220 instead of the usual 195). Even so, this tournament has probably the lowest points-to-difficulty ratio on the WTA; whoever wins this thing will really earn it.
(Be it noted that the author has never been to San Diego, and has no reason to have kind feelings about the city. That's just the way this tournament is.)
This week was also supposed to be home to a small clay event at Basel. But Basel isn't there any more. The timing was doubtless bad. Last year, Basel (won by Adriana Gersi) was the very last clay event of the season. This year, the Finnish tournament would have been the last event, but that apparently wasn't enough to save Basel. So all the clay-courters -- players like Silvia Farina Elia, Patty Schnyder, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, and Iva Majoli -- get a week off before Helsinki and the mad rush to Montreal.
One drawback with the 48-draw format used at San Diego is that it results in byes for all 16 seeds -- meaning that there will be no Top 20 players in first round action. But in a field this strong, that hardly matters. Nearly every match in the draw has an interesting aspect. Let's march down the draw:
Adriana Serra Zanetti vs. Husarova. Two players having the best years of their careers, though neither has gotten much attention for it.
Pisnik vs. Dechy. Pisnik is having her best year ever, and Dechy is getting back into Top 20 form.
Daniilidou vs. Gagliardi. On grass, Daniilidou made herself into a major force -- but her style doesn't work as well on hardcourts. Gagliardi is having a solid year on hardcourts. A tough match to call.
Tulyaganova vs. Mikaelian. Tulyaganova has been slumping lately. Mikaelian won her last hardcourt event, at Tashkent. Both are young, and should be improving. That's the theory.
Srebotnik vs. Bradshaw (WC). Bradshaw is old enough now that it seems unlikely she will ever be a major threat (unless she really, really works on her fitness, anyway), but Srebotnik doesn't like hardcourts much.
Raymond vs. Sugiyama. These two have already faced each other three times this year. Raymond won meetings #1 and #3; Sugiyama won #2. Whose turn is it this time?
Frazier vs. Irvin. Perhaps no player -- not even Lindsay Davenport -- owes more of her success to west coast hardcourts than Amy Frazier. But she's having an off year. Irvin has been pulling some surprising upsets this year. They're fairly close in the rankings. Advantage? Who knows.
Likhovtseva vs. Martinez. Two veterans who have seen better years, but both probably capable of more than they've shown this year.
Stevenson vs. Kournikova. Stevenson was on fire earlier this year, but she's come unglued lately. Kournikova is finally winning again. This could be very good.
Leon Garcia vs. Molik. Clay player and grass player meet on hardcourt. Both, unfortunately, are in bad form right now, so what would have been a great match last year may prove to be a stinker.
Tanasugarn vs. Schiavone. Schiavone had to pull out of Stanford, so she probably isn't in good form. But her potential is high.
Grande vs. Harkleroad (WC). Grande was very solid in 2001, and hasn't been able to repeat. The Grande of last year would eat Harkleroad for lunch. Will her letdown make enough of a difference?
Pierce vs. (15) Kremer. Kremer is at a career high, and she knows how to deal with slow-moving bashers like Pierce. But Pierce, if she's on, is far the better player.
(10) Maleeva vs. Pisnik or Dechy. Maleeva isn't much of a hardcourt player. And she will face a younger opponent. Another match with upset potential.
Daniilidou or Gagliardi vs. (5) Clijsters. Clijsters has said that playing a lot, with her bad arm, can affect her practice. She had to play a lot at Stanford. Will it make a difference?
(3) Davenport vs. Tulyaganova or Mikaelian. Obviously a healthy Davenport would be heavily favored. But how will she play after her first full event back?
Coetzer vs. (14) Rubin. Rubin has been incredibly hot lately, winning at Eastbourne and clawing back into the Top 20. Coetzer has been stone cold. But neither has played on hardcourts yet. Who will make the transition better?
Raymond or Sugiyama vs. (7) Hantuchova. Hantuchova has the tools and the ranking. But she's inconsistent. Both her potential opponents are very steady. Hantuchova at her best blows away either Raymond or Sugiyama. But if Hantuchova is off in her first hardcourt match of the season, watch out.
(8) Dementieva vs. Suarez. Dementieva fades in and out. Suarez is lower-ranked and likes clay, but is steady.
Frazier or Irvin vs. (12) Smashnova. Smashnova is ranked higher, but both her opponents are much happier on hardcourts. And they have more power, too.
(16) Panova vs. Likhovtseva or Martinez. Another study in contrasts. Panova has no weapons, but she gets balls back. Will that be enough to handle a slumping opponent?
Stevenson or Kournikova vs. (4) Seles. If Seles is on, this will be a blowout. But Seles ran into a significant snag at Stanford....
Tanasugarn or Schiavone vs. (9) Myskina. Myskina had a great clay-and-grass season, but this is her first hardcourt event. How will she adapt? And -- given her extremely heavy schedule -- how will her body hold up on hardcourts?
(13) Shaughnessy vs. Tu. Given Shaughnessy's recent troubles, this could be close.
Grande vs. Capriati. Another likely blowout. But Grande played Capriati very close at the Australian Open, and Capriati hasn't won a title since, and what sort of mood is Capriati in, anyway?
In the Round of Sixteen, we would see:
(1) V. Williams vs. (15) Kremer
(10) Maleeva vs. (5) Clijsters
(3) Davenport vs. (14) Rubin
(11) Bedanova vs. (7) Hantuchova
(8) Dementieva vs. (12) Smashnova
(16) Panova vs. (4) Seles
(6) Dokic vs. (9) Myskina
(13) Shaughnessy vs. (2) Capriati
On the whole, it looks rather top-heavy (though that depends a lot on the health of Davenport and Clijsters). In addition to the seeds, Pierce is in the top half.
The Rankings. The loss of points from Basel is going to hit last year's winner Adriana Gersi hard, as well as finalist Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian and semifinalists Cristina Torrens Valero and Anna Smashnova. But the big news is San Diego, with its new and improved point total. Venus Williams is the defending champion, which means she not only can't overtake her sister, but she's going to have to work hard to defend points. Still, her #2 ranking is completely secure.
Jennifer Capriati's #3 ranking is barely threatened by #4 Monica Seles, but Seles was last year's finalist and Capriati lost (to Seles) in the quarterfinal. Seles would have to win the thing and Capriati lose early for the ranking to change hands. Seles is, however, entirely safe at #4.
The gap between #5 and #8 is currently pretty small, but Justine Henin and Martina Hingis aren't playing. That makes it a contest between Kim Clijsters and Jelena Dokic for the #5 spot. Clijsters has nothing to defend, and Dokic, while she won a match, didn't earn enough points to affect her Best 17; it all depends on who can go deep.
Hingis is going to lose semifinalist points, but with Davenport also losing semifinalist points, it appears Davenport can pass Hingis only by winning San Diego, and maybe not then.
Amelie Mauresmo is safe at #10 unless Daniela Hantuchova wins the event. Hantuchova could, however, move up to a career high of #11 with relative ease; she's only about 150 points behind Sandrine Testud, and Testud is retired and has more to defend than Hantuchova. A semifinal should do it.
Ai Sugiyama, who beat Clijsters last year, will have to at least repeat her quarterfinal showing if she wants to stay in the Top 30.
Jul 30th, 2002, 04:41 PM
Day One: Review
By Jerry Magee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
San Diego UNION-TRIBUNE
German player works her way through weekend qualifying and advances to second round with three-set win over Mary Pierce.
The slump continues . . . Pierce is on her way to the eye doctor today for an exam. She had trouble seeing the ball at night against Arn.
Runner-up the past two years to Venus Williams withdraws, citing an arch injury suffered in practice.
OVATION FOR MORARIU
Corina Morariu and partner Kimberly Po came achingly close to achieving a first-round doubles victory.
"But that's life," said Morariu. "I should know better than anyone."
For Morariu, 24, her match represented her first appearance in a Sanex WTA Tour tournament since she was diagnosed with acute promeyloctic leukemia in May 2001. Morariu served for the match at 5-4 in the third set but was broken and the team of Chanda Rubin-Meghann Shaughnessy won 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
The match concluding, Morariu was afforded a standing ovation that she later said she was unaware she had received.
"Things like that mean the world to me," she said. "It's been really special. Probably the nicest thing was walking out there and hearing people in the crowd say things like, 'You're an inspiration.' "
Most stirring moment: Morariu's appearance.
A despised opponent: Cancer.
Demure for a day: Ashley Harkleroad's costume.
Count the "i's" in Eleni Daniilidou: Only "Mississippi" has more than that last name.
A player with a future: Daniilidou can be a dandy.
Daniilidou's a Greek: And she doesn't want a new stadium.
Yo! Monica! San Diego County misses you.
Kournikova vs. Stevenson: Alexandra's the home team.
Oh, the suspense: Will Navratilova be a "lucky loser"?
World Team chaos: Harkleroad's thoughts on Team Tennis: "There really are no rules. There are no lets, you have 5-game sets and the music never stops."
DID YOU HEAR?
"The girls are getting bigger, but I think there still is room for any size player."
– Amanda Coetzer, who is 5-foot-21/2.
Jul 30th, 2002, 05:07 PM
I sure wish there was more tv coverage of this, but I guess we have to take what they give us.
Thanks for all your info and input here, keep it coming!
Best Wishes to our Venus! Defend your title, Champ!!!
Jul 30th, 2002, 09:00 PM
I wish there was more too....:sad: :)
Jul 31st, 2002, 04:24 AM
(Acura Classic - San Diego) Venus Williams visits with 'Juanita', the tournament mascot before doing a live TV interview Tuesday
Jul 31st, 2002, 05:28 PM
Day 2 Review
By Jerry Magee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
San Diego UNION-TRIBUNE
In the first set against Ashley Harkleroad, she was more than hot. She was steaming. "I had almost the perfect first set," Capriati judged. "She played better (in the second set), but I think I regrouped pretty well." Capriati won 6-0, 6-3.
Playing at La Costa must appeal to the Japanese player. In her eight previous appearances there, she had achieved victories over such redoubtables as Amanda Coetzer, Capriati, Steffi Graf, Mary Pierce and Kim Clijsters. To this sequence Sugiyama yesterday added a 7-5, 6-0 victory over another strong player, Lisa Raymond.
She's surging. She dealt the veteran Coetzer a 6-1, 6-1 defeat.
"Hot" in this sense is meant in the hip sense of the word. Had the 17-year-old from Miami outfitted herself as she did during the U.S. Open – uh, revealingly – she could have been considered "hot." She chose a conservative costume. She also wasn't hot in a competitive sense in her loss to Capriati. "I was trying to overpower her," said Harkleroad. Not a good idea. "She is going to overpower me right now," decided Harkleroad, who has been a pro since she was 15.
At 30 the senior player in the Acura Classic field, Coetzer had to be feeling her years yesterday in her loss to Rubin.
Anschutz Entertainment Group
Might it have contacted operators of the Acura Classic concerning moving this event to a tennis complex AEG is creating in Carson? Jane Stratton, president of Promotion Sports Inc., said the firm has received no overtures from AEG. And if it would be contacted? "We're happy right here," said Stratton.
VENUS, THE BATTLER
The suggestion was made to Venus Williams yesterday that if she and younger sister Serena would choose to hang around that long, the Williams sisters might be able to command women's tennis for 25 years.
"Twenty-five years!" said Venus. "I'd be 47. People probably would be asking me to retire. 'Venus, go away.' "
Venus would put no ceiling on how long she intends to remain in tennis, but she indicated her departure from the game is in no way imminent.
"As long as we're working hard," she said of herself and her sister, "I feel we can be the best players for a long time."
Venus this weekend can become the first player to capture the Acura Classic three consecutive years. She is coming into her first match tonight full of fight.
"Normally, I don't go down easily," said Venus. "At least I'm going down with a fight when I do go down. I know that mentally I'm always there, and even when I'm not playing well I can just fight my way through a match."
In the tournament's court is John McEnroe, arms lifted questioningly, shrugging. It's not the real McEnroe, it's a life-size cutout, positioned there as part of an airline promotion.
Corina Morariu was presented a first Acura Comeback Award, with Capriati selected to make the presentation. "I didn't have an illness," Capriati said later, "but I know what it is like to come back from something."
At the tournament site: Brian Teacher, 47, the former San Diegan who captured the French Open in 1980. Teacher, who resides in Santa Monica, is coaching Marissa Irvin, a Southern California player who began well against Anna Smashnova of Israel. Smashnova, however, rallied for a 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory.
Teacher was struck by the musculature of Francesca Schiavone of Italy. "A rock," he termed her. Her tennis was less substantial. After taking the first set from Anastasia Myskina, Schiavone had the Russian woman hit back for a 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory.
DID YOU HEAR?
"She has a good game. She's a good athlete who can move the ball around the court. I didn't really have any trouble with her pace." – Capriati on Harkleroad
Go Venus :bounce: :angel: :kiss: :bounce: :angel: :bounce: :hearts: :bounce:
Venus Williams receives the "Charriol Loyalty Award" from Ori Zemer Wednesday night in recognition of a player who has given extra support to the event. Past winners include Graf and Seles.
Stadium Court - 10:00 a.m.
Magdalena Maleeva vs Kim Clijsters
Meghann Shaughnessy vs Jennifer Capriati
Conchita Martinez vs Anna Kournikova
Venus Williams vs Anne Kremer
Court 9 - 10:00 a.m.
Katarina Srebotnik vs Ai Sugiyama
Court and time to be arranged
Coetzer/McNeil vs Black/Likhovtseva
Panova/Vento-Kabchi vs Dementieva/Husarova
Stadium Court - 7:00 p.m.
Lindsay Davenport vs Chanda Rubin
Raymond/Stubbs vs Suarez/Tulyaganova
Aug 1st, 2002, 04:55 AM
Venus leads Series 2-0
Venus Williams (USA) vs. Anne Kremer (LUX)
1998-08-31 U.S. Open Hardcourt R64 Venus Williams (USA) 6-1 6-3
2002-04-08 Amelia Island Clay SF Venus Williams (USA) 7-5 6-0
Venus Williams (USA) leads 2:0
Hard: Venus Williams (USA) leads 1:0
Clay: Venus Williams (USA) leads 1:0
Grass: Tied 0:0
Indoor: Tied 0:0
Aug 1st, 2002, 06:18 AM
Venus Williams begins bid for third Acura title with 6-4, 6-1 win
August 1, 2002
CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) -- Top-seeded Venus Williams began her quest for a record third consecutive Acura Classic title Wednesday night, defeating unseeded Janette Husarova of Slovokia 6-4, 6-1 in 66 minutes at La Costa Resort and Spa.
Williams struggled early in the first set, trailing 2-1 to the pesky Husarova, who broke the defending champion's serve four times in the match.
``She was just swinging, she had nothing to lose,'' Williams said. ``I was just missing too many shots in the first set and that gave her the lead.''
In the end, however, Williams was too physical for Husarova, who tried unsuccessfully more than a dozen times to score on drop shots.
When asked if she had ever had an opponent attempt that many drop shots on her, Williams said, ``No, never.''
In the top day match, Lindsay Davenport, in her second WTA tournament since undergoing knee surgery, needed a little more than an hour to defeat Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian of Switzerland 6-3, 6-0.
``I'm really happy where I am at. It really is above what I expected,'' said Davenport, who injured her right knee last November and underwent surgery in January. ``I still think that I have some good years left in me.''
Earlier in the day, a second-round match between No. 7 Daniela Hantuchova of Slovokia and Ai Sugiyama of Japan ended with two controversial calls by chair umpire Denis Overberg with Sugiyama winning 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.
After receiving a warning for taking excessive time between points, Hantuchova was assessed a rare point penalty for taking too much time setting up to receive a serve. The point gave Sugiyama the advantage in a game that she eventually won to take a 6-5 lead in the third and deciding set.
In the next game, Hantuchova was penalized again for taking too much time to serve. That penalty gave Sugiyama match point.
Hantuchova stared at Overberg in disbelief before approaching the net, conceding the loss.
``I've never heard of this. I felt that I could have won, but somebody came and took the match away from me,'' she said. ``It was a great match and to have it end like that is really disappointing. But there is nothing that I can do now.''
Sugiyama said she also felt sorry about the way the match finished.
``It's tough to lose a match like that, but she was taking a little bit more time than normal,'' Sugiyama said.
In other second-round matches, fifth-seeded Kim Clijsters of Belgium beat Eleni Danilidou of Greece 6-3, 6-1; No. 10 Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria defeated Nathalie Dechy of France 7-5, 7-5; Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia upset No. 11 Daja Bedanova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 3-6, 6-2; No. 13 Meghann Shaughnessy eliminated Meilen Tu 6-1, 6-2; No. 15 Anne Kremer of Luxembourg topped Greta Arn of Germany 5-7, 6-3, 6-0; and Conchita Martinez of Spain upset 16th-seeded Tatiana Panova of Russia 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (4), and Anna Kournikova of Russia topped Jennifer Hopkins 6-2, 6-4.
In the only third-round matches, No. 12 Anna Smashnova upset No. 8 Elena Dementieva 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (2), and No. 6 Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia beat No. 9 Anastasia Myskina 6-4, 6-3.
The Acura Classic, one of the top non-major stops on the WTA, is in its 19th year and has a purse of $775,000. The tournament features a 48-player singles draw. The tournament features five of the top ten players in the world including Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Dokic, Clijsters and Davenport.
Aug 1st, 2002, 05:10 PM
Williams Doesn't Drop Ball in Easy Victory
Tennis: Slovakia's Husarova has early success with unique strategy, but Venus, the defending champion, adjusts in a 6-4, 6-1 win.
Williams Doesn't Drop Ball in Easy Victory
By BILL DWYRE, Times Staff Writer
CARLSBAD -- Opponents of Venus Williams keep digging deeper into the tennis bag of tricks. Most of the time, as was the case Wednesday night in the Acura Classic, the rabbit stays in the hat.
Janette Husarova of Slovakia, ranked No. 40 and with a game that had about as much chance of handling Williams as John McEnroe has of becoming a monk, floated out the old drop-shot strategy.
Husarova led in the first set, 3-1. Husarova lost the match, 6-4, 6-1.
Such is life on the women's tour these days, where chasing the Williams sisters has become a weekly climb of Everest proportions.
Venus Williams, ranked No. 2 and two-time defending champion here, said she had never faced that many drop shots before.
"Nope, never," she said.
She also said, with a chuckle, that the strategy got to her enough for her to try some of her own.
"I was influenced," she said.
It was a day in which some main contenders to dethrone Williams here got through to the next round with relative ease. No. 3 Lindsay Davenport, in her second tournament back after recovering from knee surgery, beat Marie-Gaiane Mikaelian of Switzerland, 6-3, 6-0; No. 5 Kim Clijsters of Belgium beat Eleni Danilidou of Greece, 6-3, 6-1, and No. 6 Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia, playing the second night match, beat Anastasia Myskina of Russia, 6-4, 6-3.
Fan favorite Anna Kournikova, attempting to get her first tour title in her 113th tournament, made her way into the round of 16 by beating Jennifer Hopkins, 6-2, 6-4. Hopkins had replaced No. 4-seeded Monica Seles after Seles was forced to withdraw before the tournament began.
To Husarova's credit, her drop-shot strategy turned a potentially one-sided match into an entertaining contest. Instead of Williams merely out-banging the less-powerful Husarova, she was forced to sprint to the net repeatedly and created interesting angles on the run.
To Husarova's discredit, trying as many as 15 drop shots against one of the fittest, fastest players on the women's tour was probably a flawed idea. It made for good theater, but bad results, especially when Husarova started dropping most of her drop shots on her own side of the net.
"I got to hit a lot of balls, and that was good," said Williams, who hit 24 winners and won 69 points to her opponent's 51.
For Williams, who was making her sixth straight appearance here, a 2002 season that looks statistically as if it should be a career year really hasn't been. She has won five tournaments, including last week's at Stanford, and has been runner-up three times. But there is the rub.
Two of her second-place finishes have been at the French Open and Wimbledon, grand slam events that are the measuring stick for all tour players.
And her losses in those two were at the hands of her sister, Serena, who currently carries the No. 1 ranking and who is not playing here.
Asked about those Grand Slam losses, Williams got quiet and responded, "It's hard." :sad:
Asked about how she and her sister handled things after the Wimbledon singles match, she said, "Serena was pretty normal. We just went out and played a doubles match. The toughest thing was just getting her to get ready for the doubles."
Davenport, who broke Mikaelian's serve at 3-3 of the first set and never lost another game, said that her comeback is going better than she expected. "I'm really happy where I'm at right now," she said.
Kournikova, who served at an impressive 75% clip, said her victory was "in general, a good match, but not as perfect as yesterday," when she demolished Alexandra Stevenson before a packed house in 47 minutes.
The tournament sets up now for semifinals matching Davenport and Williams and Kournikova and Jennifer Capriati, who is seeded second but did not play Wednesday.
Venus Williams (USA) vs. Kim Clijsters (BEL)
2001-08-27 U.S. Open Hardcourt QF Venus Williams (USA) 6-3 6-1
2002-04-29 Hamburg Clay F Kim Clijsters (BEL) 1-6 6-3 6-4
2002-07-22 Stanford Hardcourt F Venus Williams (USA) 6-3 6-3
Venus Williams (USA) leads 2:1
Hard: Venus Williams (USA) leads 2:0
Clay: Kim Clijsters (BEL) leads 1:0
Grass: Tied 0:0
Indoor: Tied 0:0
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Two-time defending champion Venus Williams beat No. 5 Kim Clijsters of Belgium 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Acura Classic on Friday.
Venus Williams hadn't lost a set since Wimbledon, but still beat Kim Clijsters 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
Earlier, Anna Kournikova of Russia rallied from a one-sided defeat in the first set for the second consecutive day to eliminate No. 12 Anna Smashnova of Israel 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Third-seeded Lindsay Davenport also advanced to the semifinals Saturday by overpowering Ai Sugiyama of Japan 6-1, 6-1.
Kournikova, who needed 2 hours, 19 minutes to beat Smashnova, will face the winner of the Friday night match between No. 2 Jennifer Capriati and No. 6 Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia on Saturday afternoon. Williams and Davenport will meet in the other semifinal Saturday night. The championship match will be played Sunday.
The top-seeded Williams, who hadn't lost a set since being beaten 7-6 (4), 6-3 by her sister Serena in the finals at Wimbledon last month, used a tournament-high 122 mph service ace to end the match, which lasted 1:52.
''Finally, I got a really good one, that was nice,'' Williams said of her final serve. ''I was never nervous throughout the whole match. I made a few mistakes and rushed a few times, but I'm older and wiser now. I've been here a lot of times before.''
Clijsters, who lost to Williams 6-3, 6-3 in the finals of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford last Sunday, regrouped after losing the first set in this event. But it wasn't enough against the powerful, agile Williams.
''I enjoyed the atmosphere out there and really enjoyed myself today,'' Clijsters said. ''I know that I gave my best. It was fun, even though it is never nice to lose.''
The 21-year-old Kournikova, who hasn't won a WTA tournament in 112 previous attempts, has made it to the finals of three tournaments -- Moscow in 2000, Hilton Head in 1999 and Miami in 1998. She had lost in the first round in four of her previous five WTA events.
''I'm just really happy to win four matches in a row,'' Kournikova said of her prospects to make the final at the La Costa Resort and Spa. ''Saturday, the match will be more of a power game with more winners and shorter points.''
Kournikova, who played with her left thigh taped, lost nine of her first 11 games against Smashnova and was down 2-0 in the third set before coming back to win six of the final eight games.
Kournikova also won only one game in the first set Thursday before rallying for a 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Conchita Martinez of Spain.
''Today was definitely tougher,'' Kournikova said. ''I guess that I was a step too slow in the beginning today. I was really tired from yesterday. Then, I started to play smarter and get more aggressive. I started to move much better.''
Aug 3rd, 2002, 02:46 AM
(starting at 1:00p.m.)
Kournikova vs. Dokic or Capriati
Suarez / Tuylyaganova vs. Hantuchova / Sugiyama or Rubin / Shaughnessy
Evening session (7:00 pm)
Williams vs. Davenport
Dementieva / Husarova vs. Black / Likhovtseva
Aug 3rd, 2002, 02:47 AM
Venus Williams  vs. Lindsay Davenport 
Davenport leads 10-9; 8-7 on hardcourts; Williams leads 2-0 at San Diego
1997-03-03 Indian Wells Hardcourt QF Lindsay Davenport (USA) 6-4 5-7 7-6(1)
1997-10-13 Zurich Indoor Hardcourt QF Lindsay Davenport (USA) 6-0 6-4
1998-01-19 Australian Open Hardcourt QF Lindsay Davenport (USA) 1-6 7-5 6-3
1998-02-23 Oklahoma City Indoor Hardcourt SF Venus Williams (USA) 6-7(5) 6-2 6-3
1998-07-27 Stanford Hardcourt F Lindsay Davenport (USA) 6-4 5-7 6-4
1998-08-31 U.S. Open Hardcourt SF Lindsay Davenport (USA) 6-4 6-4
1998-10-12 Zurich Indoor Hardcourt F Lindsay Davenport (USA) 7-5 6-3
1999-01-18 Australian Open Hardcourt QF Lindsay Davenport (USA) 6-4 6-0
1999-07-26 Stanford Hardcourt F Lindsay Davenport (USA) 7-6(1) 6-2
1999-08-02 San Diego Hardcourt SF Venus Williams (USA) 6-4 7-5
1999-08-23 New Haven Hardcourt F Venus Williams (USA) 6-2 7-5
1999-11-08 Philadelphia Indoor Carpet SF Lindsay Davenport (USA) 6-1 6-2
2000-06-26 Wimbledon Grass F Venus Williams (USA) 6-3 7-6(3)
2000-07-24 Stanford Hardcourt F Venus Williams (USA) 6-1 6-4
2000-08-28 U.S. Open Hardcourt F Venus Williams (USA) 6-4 7-5
2000-10-16 Linz Indoor Carpet F Lindsay Davenport (USA) 6-4 3-6 6-2
2001-06-25 Wimbledon Grass SF Venus Williams (USA) 6-2 6-7(1) 6-1
2001-07-30 San Diego Hardcourt SF Venus Williams (USA) 6-2 7-5
2001-08-20 New Haven Hardcourt F Venus Williams (USA) 7-6(6) 6-4
Aug 3rd, 2002, 02:52 AM
Williams Turns Back Clijsters to Advance
Top-seeded Venus Williams nearly lost the grip on her Acura Classic title, but rebounded to defeat sixth-seeded Kim Clijsters of Belgium, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in a quarterfinal match on Stadium Court.
Fans saw Williams lose her first set at the La Costa Resort and Spa in almost two years. Williams defeated Monica Seles in three sets in the 2000 final.
Williams’ quarterfinal victory over Clijsters was her 12th consecutive victory here.
After losing the first set in 30 minutes, Clijsters opened the second set by holding serve at love. The Belgian gained momentum as she successfully slugged it out with Williams from the baseline.
At times Clijsters dominated play in the second set and went on to break Williams’ serve at 6-5 to even the match at a set apiece.
In the third set, Williams broke Clijsters for a 4-3 lead and then served a love game to make the score 5-3.
After Clijsters held serve, Williams served for the match at 5-4. On her first match point, she slammed a 122-mph ace to advance to the semifinals.
Williams advances to a semifinal match tomorrow against the winner of the Lindsay Davenport / Ai Sugiyama match.
Williams improves her 2002 match record to 48-6.
Williams is making her seventh appearance in the Acura Classic. Her overall record here is 17-4.
Williams now leads Clijsters 3-1 in career head-to-head meetings.
Clijsters’ 2002 match record is now 27-11.
Clijsters was making her third Acura Classic appearance. Following her loss to Williams, her overall record here is 2-3.
Venus Williams to battle Dokic in Acura Classic final
August 03, 2002
San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Top seed Venus Williams will take on sixth seed Jelena Dokic in the final of the Acura Classic after each posted semifinal victories on Saturday.
Dokic fought off two match points and rallied to beat unseeded Russian beauty Anna Kournikova, 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-2), 6-0 in the afternoon. Williams then breezed past third seed Lindsay Davenport, 6-2, 6-1 in the night session.
The French Open and Wimbledon runner-up Williams reached her fourth straight final here, having claimed the title in 2000 and 2001 after losing in the 1999 title match. She is hoping to win an event for a second straight week after disposing of Kim Clijsters in last week's Bank of the West Classic final in Stanford.
Davenport, who titled here in 1998, has now split 20 all-time matchups with Williams. In semifinal matchups, Williams has the upperhand, leading 5-2.
Dokic, who upset second-seeded American Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinal round on Friday, advanced to her 11th career singles final. She won despite double faulting 12 times.
Kournikova, who is ranked 47th in the world, has never won a singles event. She hit 27 winners, but committed 53 unforced errors.
Williams is trying to win her 26th career singles title, while the 19-year-old Dokic will attempt to win her sixth. Williams has five titles this year, compared to two for Dokic. Williams is 2-1 lifetime against Dokic.
The winner of this $775,000 event will take home $115,000.
Aug 4th, 2002, 03:39 PM
Reality Served Cold by Venus
By LISA DILLMAN, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times
CARLSBAD -- Jelena Dokic, who rarely lacks confidence, hardly sounded optimistic about her chances against Venus Williams in today's final of the Acura Classic.
"She presents all sorts of problems for everyone," said Dokic, who fought off two match points in her semifinal victory against Anna Kournikova of Russia. "Serena [Williams] is the only one to beat her recently. She has the power and the speed. Maybe if she commits 50 or 60 unforced errors, I'll have a chance."
There was laughter in the interview room, and Dokic joined in. But she wasn't joking.
Lindsay Davenport, who won three games against Venus Williams on Saturday night, handicapped the final and supported Dokic's thesis after an up-close-and-personal drubbing. Williams, the two-time defending champion and top-seeded player, defeated No. 3 Davenport, 6-2, 6-1, in 60 minutes at the La Costa Resort and Spa.
"Maybe Jelena will, hopefully, play better than I did," Davenport said. "I think that Venus is going to win, no offense to Jelena. She's going to have to play a great match. I see Venus winning it. I don't know how bad that is to say."
Reality hit her hard. Williams had five aces, hit 21 winners and fired off serves in excess of 110 mph. It was the most one-sided loss Davenport has taken since returning to the circuit late last month after being out since November because of an injured right knee and subsequent surgery.
"I wish I could go back to 2-2 and try and play that first set again," Davenport said. "It happened so fast. It kept going and it just kept getting worse and worse, like a nightmare."
Williams has been there, too. She missed four months because of tendinitis in both wrists two years ago and grew frustrated when she returned during the clay-court season, especially after a particularly one-sided loss at the Italian Open.
"I lost to Jelena Dokic, 6-1, 6-2, and it was all I could do to stay on the court," Williams said of her only loss to Dokic. "It was hard."
The one-sided nature of the night semifinal between Williams and Davenport brought out the usual barbs. Late in the second set, one fan yelled, "Give us our money back."
Richard Williams, the coach and father of Venus, had something to say, too. According to courtside photographers sitting near him, he said, among other things, "You might as well go home" when Davenport went to change rackets in the second set.
Davenport said she didn't hear him, but she did pick up the other spectator's words.
"It was so silent and I was about to receive. What are you going to do about fans?" she said.
"Normally, people that say that aren't the ones that ever take the court or the field or a position. It is disappointing. If I was a fan I would have wanted a better match too."
The compelling, competitive semifinal turned out to be the first one. The sixth-seeded Dokic of Yugoslavia had little time to celebrate her first victory over Jennifer Capriati on Friday or to prepare for her match Saturday afternoon against Kournikova. Dokic managed to save two match points in the 10th game and defeated Kournikova, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (2), 6-0.
But don't ask the turnaround artist how she pulled this one off.
"I don't know," she said, looking genuinely perplexed, and exhausted.
The 19-year-old was fried after the two-hour contest in the hot sun. She talked about saving three or four match points. In fact, it was two.
On the first, Kournikova hit a backhand long, forced by Dokic's powerful forehand down the line. Dokic erased the second when she hit a strong first serve to the body and Kournikova hit a backhand return out.
Dokic carried her aggressive play into the tiebreaker and won it, 7-2, hitting two return winners to finish it off, and appearing to greatly deflate Kournikova in the process. The third set lasted 21 minutes.
"I knew that was my chance because in the third I was really tired," said Kournikova, still in search of her first tournament title on the women's tour. "It took a lot out of me. It was really tough to turn it around. Whenever she was down 5-4 and 6-5 [in the second] for some reason she started playing more aggressively and I was more passive. It was like changing the role."
The pinpoint accuracy Dokic showed against Capriati was fleeting Saturday. Her first-serve percentage was 56% for the match, dipping to 47% in the second set. She had 12 double faults and no aces.
Said Dokic: "Mentally, I'm a strong person. I usually play the key points, the big points well. After a few match points, I was back even. I told myself I had nothing to lose."
Venus Williams wins third straight Acura Classic
August 04, 2002
San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Top seed Venus Williams breezed past sixth seed Jelena Dokic in the final of the Acura Classic to win her third straight title at the La Costa Resort and Spa.
Williams, who defeated Monica Seles in the last two finals, downed the 19- year-old Dokic, 6-2, 6-2. Williams simply overpowered Dokic, who had 17 unforced errors and just three winners in the first set.
The French Open and Wimbledon runner-up Williams reached her fourth straight final here, having claimed the title in 2000 and 2001 after losing in the 1999 title match. Williams titled for a second straight week as she disposed of Kim Clijsters in last week's Bank of the West Classic final in Stanford.
Dokic had fought off two match points and rallied to beat unseeded Russian beauty Anna Kournikova, 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-2), 6-0 in Saturday's semifinal, while Williams eased by third seed Lindsay Davenport, 6-2, 6-1.
Dokic, who upset second-seeded American Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinal round on Friday, was playing in her 11th career singles final.
Williams won her 27th career singles title, while Dokic was attempting to win her sixth. Williams has six titles this year and improved to 3-1 lifetime against Dokic.
Williams takes home $115,000 as the winner of this $775,000 event.
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Top-seeded Venus Williams relied on her power game and outstanding court coverage to win her third consecutive Acura Classic by defeating sixth-seeded Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia 6-2, 6-2 on Sunday in the tournament final at La Costa Resort and Spa.
Williams, a resident of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, has now won 27 WTA tournaments in her career. She is the only player to win three La Costa tournaments in a row in its 19-year history.
Williams had no trouble in defeating Dokic in a tidy 55 minutes. Dokic had 2-1 lead in the first set before Williams rattled off five games in a row to win the set.
Dokic held her serve to win the first game of the second set, but Williams came back to win four consecutive games to take a 4-1 lead and cruise to the win.
"It is really nice to keep coming back to a tour that is so familiar and where winning is so familiar," Williams said. "I just had a great day."
Williams won $115,000 in prize money and an Acura 3.2 CLS. Dokic won $60,000 in prize money. Williams is now 3-1 in her career against Dokic.
In the doubles final, fourth seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia and Janette Husarova of Slovokia defeated third-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and Ai Sugiyama of Japan 6-2, 6-4.
Dokic, who consulted a physician before the match, played with what she said was a stomach virus, which she said weakened her before and during the match.
"Just generally, physically, I wasnt feeling well. I was very tired from the last two days," Dokic said. "I think that I was run down and tired and it came down all at once. It was a lot tennis and not much recovery time."
The statistics tell the story: Williams had 23 winners and 24 unforced errors, while Dokic had only five winners and 26 unforced errors. Willimas won 72 percent of her first serves and 60 percent of her second serves. Meanwhile, Dokic won 52 percent of her first serves and only 35 percent of her second serves.
Williams converted on 90 percent (9-10) of her net approaches while Dokic converted on only 42 percent (5-12).
"I hit two or three unbelievable drop shots and in two steps Venus was there to hit winners," Dokic said. "I am happy that I got to the final. Im a little disappointed today, but compared to last year I am playing a lot better on the hard court."
On Saturday in the semifinals, Williams defeated third-seeded Lindsay Davenport 6-2, 6-1 at night while Dokic defeated Anna Kournikova of Russia 6-7 (6), 7-6 (2), 6-0 during the day.
Williams has now won two tournaments in a row after winning the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford last week.
"I am not getting bored with tennis," Williams responded when asked if the game has lost its challenge. "Mainly the whole time I am fighting with myself to keep the ball in play and not make errors."
Aug 5th, 2002, 01:28 AM
Williams takes Classic title
Williams has been on form since her Wimbledon defeat
(1) Venus Williams (US) bt (6) Jelena Dokic (Yug) 6-2 6-2
Venus Williams collected her sixth title of the year by overpowering Jelena Dokic in the final of the Acura Classic in California.
The top seed lost just four games on the way to winning the San Diego crown for the third successive year.
She has now won nine matches in a row since losing to her sister Serena in the Wimbledon final.
Hopefully next year I can come back and do a little bit better
Serena opted against playing at the Acura Classic as the two sisters rarely play the same events in the build-up to the US Open.
But Venus admitted that her sibling is beginning to enjoy the competition after defeating her in the finals of the French Open and Wimbledon.
"She is crazy about beating me down nowadays," Williams said.
"Maybe she will give me a small break and I will be able to take something home for myself.
"I'm so proud of her. She's always my little sister so I'm still proud of her even if she takes it from me."
Williams will be defending champion at Flushing Meadows and said there was little for her to improve on before the final Grand Slam event of the year gets under way.
"Maybe just my consistency," she said. "Mentally I feel like I'm doing OK.
"I'm pretty focused on the court. My focus was to take the title home and now I can move forward."
Dokic, who had beaten second seed Jennifer Capriati on the way to the final, kept pace with the world number two for four games.
Dokic nets biggest win
But after saving four break points in the fifth game the Yugoslav had no answer as Williams won 10 out of the next 11 points for the double-break.
Williams comfortably held serve to take the opening set and put her on the road to her 27th career title.
The 22-year-old American broke in the third game of the second set but Dokic refused to give in.
She finally broke the Williams serve in the sixth game of the second set, but costly errors ended her hopes of getting back into the game.
"I didn't expect to get to the final," Dokic said. "I've had a tough week. Hopefully next year I can come back and do a little bit better."
Williams, who has lost just one set in her winning run since Wimbledon, broke back in the seventh game and held serve to collect the $125,000 first prize.
Williams will remain in second place behind her sister when the WTA announce their latest rankings on Monday.
So Venus Williams won her third consecutive Acura Classic title over the weekend in convincing fashion defeating dangerous Jelena Dokic (who it should be noted, defeated Jennifer Capriati in a classic quarterfinal match, and ended Anna Kournikova’s run in the semis) in straight sets. The phenom now owns a grand total of 27 career singles titles, yet remains the second-ranked player in the world, a faint notch below her kid sister.
She displayed artistry in her play on the court over the week that suggests a subtle change in her on-court philosophy – Venus no longer needs to outhit opponents on every point. Instead, she has matured into a thinking player, her natural talents guiding her across the court, setting up glorious finishing touches.
Following the match she was asked if winning tournament after tournament is getting boring. Her reply?
"I am not getting bored with tennis,'' said Williams. "Mainly the whole time I am fighting with myself to keep the ball in play and not make errors.''
This week, Venus takes a well-deserved week off while Serena returns to action at the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles, Ca. Venus will be the main draw at the Pilot Pen Tennis in New Haven, Ct., her final tune-up before the start of the 2002 US Open.
A dejected Davenport. (Photo: Getty Images)
Davenport gets tournament tested
Every tournament is important, but last week’s Acura Classic was particularly vital to American Lindsay Davenport’s comeback. It’s one thing to work out in the gym, on the treadmill and in the weight room, but the only way for Davenport to get into “tennis” shape is to play matches against top-notch competition.
And that’s exactly what she got in San Diego. Davenport’s ground strokes appeared crisp and her movement, while never great, was good enough to get her to the semifinals, where she lost to Venus.
When Lindsay is at the top of her game, she is one of the few players on the WTA tour that can match the physical nature of the Williams’ sisters.
She has the booming serve and ferocious ball-striking ability to hold her own with them – but if her fitness isn’t there, her game will unearth wear and tear during the homestretch of the US Open.