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Old Mar 27th, 2002, 02:45 PM   #1
GrandSlammed
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Talking VENUS... Too "Strong Inside" For Elena Dementieva...

Venus Gets Past Dementieva,
All-Sister Semis Still Possible



By STEVE KEATING
.c Reuters

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (March 26) -- Second seed and defending champion Venus Williams beat the rain and Elena Dementieva at the Nasdaq-100 Open Masters on Tuesday, winning 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 to set up a potential semifinal showdown with sister Serena.

Williams suffered a first set lapse, squandering a 5-3 lead as the 12th-seeded Russian stormed back to win the next four games to seize control.

"Theoretically I should have won the first set," said the American, who contributed to her own downfall with 10 double faults. "I was up a break and had some opportunities and I just couldn't do anything that made a lot of sense.

"She just kept putting the pressure on and before I knew it the first set was finished."

But the Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion rallied to take the next two sets in workmanlike fashion to reach the semifinals for the fifth time in six events this season.

The champion in her last three appearances at the Nasdaq-100 -- she missed the 2000 event through injury -- Williams has now gone unbeaten in 22 starts on the Miami hardcourts.

"I think I could have done a lot better today," said Williams. "But a lot of times you have some days that aren't your best days and what counts is that you get the best out of yourself that you can."

Eighth seed Serena Williams was supposed to meet third seed Martina Hingis of Switzerland in another quarterfinal later Tuesday, but their match was washed out by rain and pushed back 24 hours.

A win by the younger Williams would set up the seventh career meeting between the tennis siblings and the first since they clashed in the final of last year's U.S. Open.

Venus holds a commanding 5-1 lead over her sister.

21:53 03-26-02

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