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tennisIlove09
May 5th, 2003, 09:23 PM
Sugyama Out of Williams-Less German Open
Mon May 5, 2003 12:36 PM ET
By Patrick Vignal
BERLIN (Reuters) - Japan's Ai Sugiyama became the first seed to bow out of the German Open when the tournament started on Monday without a Williams sister in the draw and an uncertain future ahead.

Sugiyama, the 13th seed in the $1.2 million claycourt event, fell, 6-1, 7-5, to Switzerland's Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian.

The tournament had earlier suffered a blow after Venus Williams confirmed she would not play in the German capital because she was suffering from a left abdominal strain.

The world number two's withdrawal was the last thing the tournament needed since her younger sister Serena had pulled out earlier to take a rest from the circuit.

The American's injury forced her to retire from the Warsaw Cup final on Sunday when France's Amelie Mauresmo was leading, 6-7, 6-0, 3-0.

Venus said she did not know how long the injury, sustained three weeks before the French Open starts on May 26, would keep her sidelined.

"My plan is to take each day at a time, have some rest and hopefully be fully fit again as soon as possible," she said in a statement.

The absence of the Williams sisters piled on the pressure on the organizers of the German Open.

With the event not having a contract with a broadcaster, the main sponsor has threatened to pull out and this could result in the tournament being scrapped next year.

Tennis in Germany is going through a crisis with interest from sponsors and television dropping in the absence of top players, especially in the women's game.

The days of Steffi Graf and Anke Huber are long gone and the only player to make the main draw without having to qualify was world number 73 Anca Barna, who survived the first round with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues.

"I'm feeling more pressure than usual," said the 25-year-old Barna. "Normally nobody cares about how I play and this is new to me but it's all right."

Belgium's Kim Clijsters heads the Berlin field while her compatriot and defending champion Justine Henin-Hardenne has moved into the number two spot in the draw left vacant by Venus.

The first eight seeds have a bye into the second round.

leslie
May 5th, 2003, 11:06 PM
Wow, the power the W/S have.

kiwifan
May 6th, 2003, 12:15 AM
Yep.

If they play they're "destroying the game".

If they stay home they're "destroying the game".

What's a Williams to do?

o0O0o
May 6th, 2003, 12:17 AM
It's not even "Williams" any more. Venus is just walking bonus points these days.

¤CharlDa¤
May 6th, 2003, 02:09 AM
Congrats to Mikaelian for her win!!! :bounce:

disposablehero
May 6th, 2003, 02:15 AM
Well, that takes care of everyone who has beaten Kim since October 1.

Jesquimaux
May 6th, 2003, 03:35 AM
Congrats to Mikaelian for her win!!! :bounce:

Yeah! G-A-I-A-N-E-H! :worship:

persond
May 6th, 2003, 05:08 AM
:cool: "They're damned if they do, and damned if they don't..." !!!!

And, you're absolutely right Kiwifan..."what's a Williams to do!!!

From all the talk around here, you'd think the BELGIANS could "pick-up" the "slack"...after all, they're the main challengers to the Williamses.

rhz
May 6th, 2003, 08:49 AM
plus they don't have Anna and Monica

leslie
May 6th, 2003, 11:04 AM
:cool: "They're damned if they do, and damned if they don't..." !!!!

And, you're absolutely right Kiwifan..."what's a Williams to do!!!

From all the talk around here, you'd think the BELGIANS could "pick-up" the "slack"...after all, they're the main challengers to the Williamses.

I really don't see the Belgians as challengers to the sisters.

WhatTheDeuce
May 6th, 2003, 11:35 AM
I really don't see the Belgians as challengers to the sisters.
i do beleive henin just beat serena, kim beat serena in the championships and coulve easily won their aus open meeting...

i think they are challengers to the sisters...

leslie
May 6th, 2003, 12:12 PM
i do beleive henin just beat serena, kim beat serena in the championships and coulve easily won their aus open meeting...

i think they are challengers to the sisters...

Yes Kim beat Serena in che championship and Serena beat her how many times since then including the Hopman Cup man, and we can't forget the AO when Kim choked. Serena is in Kim's head. Serena just embarrassed Kim at NASDQA. I mean literally embarrassed her you could even see it on Kim's face. They again they h2h. Venus owns Justine. For me to believe they can challenge them they will have to beat then on a consistently and that has not happen yet. A win here and there does not impress me.

Cybelle Darkholme
May 6th, 2003, 01:46 PM
In my mind challenged means you win some of the time and equal footing means you win half of the time. Right now both kim and justine are definitely challenging for the top, espcially on clay with justine and kim pretty much any surface.

Do I like the belgians? Yes and no. Justine has a pretty game but the personality of a space vacuum while kim has a predictable game, but nice splits, but the personality of a stepford wife. Not fun. Kim's game is like a defensive williams sisters.

Serendy Willick
May 6th, 2003, 02:33 PM
i do beleive henin just beat serena, kim beat serena in the championships and coulve easily won their aus open meeting...

i think they are challengers to the sisters...

Sure they are challengers, but I'd really wish that you would get the facts straight. Kim Beat Serena at the championships, Serena then beat her at the Aussie Open and Hopeman Cup (and lets not go there with the Hopeman Cup doesnt count bullshyt, because we all know you wouldve been throwing up in everyones face, had Kim won :rolleyes: ) Venus then beat Kim pretty convincinly at the Diamond Games in Belgium, then Serena beat Kim in Miami. Venus beat Justine at the Aussie Open, while Justine Beat Serena at Charleston. I would see that despite the last loss that the Williams have responded wonderfully to the Belgian Challenges, and will continue to do so thoughout the year. :)

Doraemon
May 6th, 2003, 03:34 PM
Poor Ai.. I know clay isn't her best surface. It just doesn't suit her game. Taking the ball early doesn't help much on clay cuz the dirth equalizes the pace anyway. I had the same problem on clay but over the eyars I learnt to play on it well and towards the end of my career it wasn't my worst surface anymore. The key is playing all round, then you can adjust your game according to what you are playing on. There are tips to learn from the way Mary Joe played. She was one of the few players who didn't have any surface she was particularly bad at. playing on.