Williams battles through to final
1 day ago
World number eight Venus Williams played down any injury concerns ahead of the Australian Open after receiving treatment during her hard-fought 6-3 6-3 victory over Elena Dementieva at the JB Group Classic in Hong Kong on Friday.
After winning the first set of the semi-final at the annual exhibition event in 41 minutes, the Wimbledon champion received treatment on her left leg and lower back from a tournament physiotherapist for several minutes.
But the six-time grand slam winner returned to complete the 75-minute victory over Dementieva to set up a final meeting with Maria Sharapova after the Russian world number five earlier eased to a 6-4 6-2 triumph over compatriot Anna Chakvetadze.
With mother Oracene looking concerned in the players' box at Victoria Park, Williams appeared to loosen up as the second set progressed and was able to rain down several trademark serves and unleash a solid groundstroke attack to end a mid-set Dementieva revival.
"It was a hamstring injury but the physio thought it was maybe coming from my back, but out there on the court there is only a few minutes to treat it and also the fact that it is cold I wanted to stay warm," said Williams, who is aiming for a third Hong Kong title in her only event before the first grand slam of the year in Australia.
"I am going to go to the physio and take it from there. I am playing against a very good player tomorrow so I am going to do what I can tonight to have my best game ready.
"Not playing tomorrow is not a concern at the moment I am just happy with the win because it always feels good. I was able to get through the match even though I wasn't playing very well.
"I have not really had hamstring trouble before so I don't know what it is right now. The only thing I worry about long term is my left wrist, but it has felt pretty good for a few months now so anything else is second. As long as my left wrist is okay I can be pretty happy."
Williams grabbed the crucial break in the eighth game of the match and then served out the next game to take the first set before receiving treatment.
She returned to open up the second set with back-to-back breaks of the Dementieva serve to open up a 3-0 lead before the Russian hit back with a break of her own to move within a game of the American after holding her own serve. But after the next three games went with serve, Williams broke Dementieva for the fifth time to wrap up the victory and set up a meeting with Sharapova, who lost last year's final to Kim Clijsters.