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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old Feb 4th, 2004, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Toray Pan Pacific

Venus looks to play power game on Toray carpet


Daily Yomiuri
By Jim Allen
03/02/04

Venus Williams looked past a disappointing Australian Open exit and focused on positives Monday.

Williams, the top seed in the 1.3 million dollars Toray Pan Pacific Open, is playing in just her second official tournament since last year's Wimbledon, having missed the remainder of last season with an abdominal muscle



injury.

"I had a great trip to Australia," Venus said of her January tennis that ended with a thud in the third round at Melbourne. "I've been able to play and able to compete, which is a big step for me because I hadn't been playing for the last six months.

"Where do I go from here? Keep playing, keep competing and enjoying."

The tournament starts in earnest today at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium with the first matches getting underway at 11 a.m.

Ai Sugiyama, playing her first tournament in her home country as one of the world's top 10 players, is in the same half of the draw with Williams, who is playing her first tournament in Japan.

"This is always a tough tournament with a lot of top-10 players in the draw," said Sugiyama, ranked ninth in the world and the No. 4 seed.

"Before I get to the semifinals, I have a second-round match. I have to stay within my game and I can honestly say that I am looking ahead only as far as the next match."

Sugiyama won her first championship of the year in Australia when she captured the Uncle Toby's hard-court title in Gold Coast.

Her encore was less spectacular--she lost her next match and bailed out of Melbourne in the second round.

While Williams was touted as one of favorites for the year's first Grand Slam, her chances for a title here should be good as her power game is a perfect match for the pan Pacific.

The Toray is the only tournament to use this lightning-fast surface that favors big-hitting base-liners like Americans Williams and Lindsay Davenport, the No. 2 seed, defending champion and a three-time winner here.

"It was fine," said Williams, who like Davenport is also a former world No. 1, of the Toray carpet. "I had heard a lot about it. I like it."

Russia's Maria Sharapova, who won her first-ever professional tournament in Japan and her first WTA tournament in Tokyo last October in the Japan Open, is looking forward to trying it out in a game.

"It's kind of different," said the youngster. "It looks like grass, but it isn't. It's fast and it's low, and I think it will make for some fun tennis."

In addition to Sugiyama, who has a first-round bye, the Japan contingent consists of world No. 41 Shinobu Asagoe, No. 55 Saori Obata, qualifier Akiko Morigami, ranked 66th, and wild card entry Yuka Yoshida.

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old Feb 4th, 2004, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Japanese tennis ace Ai Sugiyama, left, Venus Williams, center, and Linsay Davenport, right, attend a press conference at a Tokyo hotel on Monday, Feb. 2 along with other participants in the Toray Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament, which opens at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Feb. 3

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TOKYO: Lindsay Davenport looks on while Venus Williams presents flowers to Mr. Sakakibara, President of Toray Industries.

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old Feb 4th, 2004, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Venus: Give Belgians credit

U.S. tennis player Venus Williams (news - web sites) speaks during a news conference at a Tokyo hotel in Japan on Monday, Feb. 2, 2004 a day ahead of the Toray Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament. (AP Photo / Kyodo)


By Jim Allen
Daily Yomiuri
04/02/04

Merit, and not the absence of her and her sister Serena, is the reason for the rapid of ascent of Belgian stars Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams said Tuesday.

The former world No. 1 and the top seed at this week's Toray Pan Pacific Open at Tokyo Metropolitan Gym said No. 1 Henin-Hardenne and



No. 2 Clijsters got to the top because they are good.

"I think any achievement that anyone achieves is on your own merit," said Williams. "Everything they may have done--and everything I may have done in my career--is because it is deserved."

And Williams is looking to be deserving of more--despite losing in the third round of the Australian Open to fellow American Lisa Raymond.

"I just ran into a red-hot player but ...being off the tour probably had something to do with it," said Williams, who suffered an abdominal muscle injury last summer that kept her out for six months.

"I like to think I'm still pretty good. Honestly, just as far as being in there competing, obviously I'm a little bit off on that.

In addition to not being able to play tennis, the injury forced her into an abnormal amount of dependence on others.

"I couldn't lift things or do some of the things by myself that I wanted to do, which was hard to accept," she said.

"It's just that if you have to lift something at home, you don't want to call someone to come do it, if you know you really can do it (yourself).

"I had to really realize that it would be to my own detriment if I keep trying to do what I shouldn't be. It wasn't so difficult but I didn't want to accept any abnormality."

It was a jolt to the overpowering confidence that once helped propel her to the top of the game.

Asked if she had a role model, Williams said she never thought anyone was better than her in tennis.

"I was really hardcore," said Williams. "I was convinced that I was the best.

"I guess in a way I think I still am. I just knew it was all about me. I was just so focused on me, I didn't see the next person.

"That's the way it has to be. I had the right idea. I wanted to play the No. 1 player (thinking) 'Yes, I can get 100 points,' I wasn't looking at it like, 'I've got to play the No 1, I don't think I win.'

"That was just a completely different perspective from the next young player.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old Feb 4th, 2004, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Venus looks to play power game on Toray carpet




Daily Yomiuri
By Jim Allen
03/02/04

Venus Williams looked past a disappointing Australian Open exit and focused on positives Monday.

Williams, the top seed in the 1.3 million dollars Toray Pan Pacific Open, is playing in just her second official tournament since last year's Wimbledon, having missed the remainder of last season with an abdominal muscle



injury.

"I had a great trip to Australia," Venus said of her January tennis that ended with a thud in the third round at Melbourne. "I've been able to play and able to compete, which is a big step for me because I hadn't been playing for the last six months.

"Where do I go from here? Keep playing, keep competing and enjoying."

The tournament starts in earnest today at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium with the first matches getting underway at 11 a.m.

Ai Sugiyama, playing her first tournament in her home country as one of the world's top 10 players, is in the same half of the draw with Williams, who is playing her first tournament in Japan.

"This is always a tough tournament with a lot of top-10 players in the draw," said Sugiyama, ranked ninth in the world and the No. 4 seed.

"Before I get to the semifinals, I have a second-round match. I have to stay within my game and I can honestly say that I am looking ahead only as far as the next match."

Sugiyama won her first championship of the year in Australia when she captured the Uncle Toby's hard-court title in Gold Coast.

Her encore was less spectacular--she lost her next match and bailed out of Melbourne in the second round.

While Williams was touted as one of favorites for the year's first Grand Slam, her chances for a title here should be good as her power game is a perfect match for the pan Pacific.

The Toray is the only tournament to use this lightning-fast surface that favors big-hitting base-liners like Americans Williams and Lindsay Davenport, the No. 2 seed, defending champion and a three-time winner here.

"It was fine," said Williams, who like Davenport is also a former world No. 1, of the Toray carpet. "I had heard a lot about it. I like it."

Russia's Maria Sharapova, who won her first-ever professional tournament in Japan and her first WTA tournament in Tokyo last October in the Japan Open, is looking forward to trying it out in a game.

"It's kind of different," said the youngster. "It looks like grass, but it isn't. It's fast and it's low, and I think it will make for some fun tennis."

In addition to Sugiyama, who has a first-round bye, the Japan contingent consists of world No. 41 Shinobu Asagoe, No. 55 Saori Obata, qualifier Akiko Morigami, ranked 66th, and wild card entry Yuka Yoshida.

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2004, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Venus Beats Obata at Pan Pacific Open


By JIM ARMSTRONG, Associated Press Writer

TOKYO - Venus Williams (news - web sites) cruised to a straight-sets victory over Japan's Saori Obata on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Pan Pacific Open.



Top-seeded Williams beat Obata 6-3, 6-4 at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.


"I felt a lot of support from the crowd even though I was playing Obata," Williams said. "I don't always feel appreciated. I don't need to be everyone's hero but I like to be respected."


Williams, who lost to fellow American Lisa Raymond last month in the third round of the Australian Open (news - web sites), looked to be in top form Thursday. In Melbourne, Williams was coming back from a six month break caused by recurring abdominal muscle problems.


Obata broke serve in the eighth game of the second set and then held serve to pull within 5-4 but was no match for the former top-ranked Williams, who had five aces.


"I thought my serve was good today," Williams said. "I was holding serve fairly easily and got a lot of points off my serve."
Williams will face compatriot Chanda Rubin in the last eight. Fifth-seeded Rubin outlasted Japan's Akiko Morigami 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-3.


"She plays a similar game to me," Williams said of Rubin. "Power tennis, risk in her game. Other than the serve, our games are pretty similar."
Defending champion Lindsay Davenport, who advanced to the quarterfinals on Wednesday, will face Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova.


Earlier, Japan's Ai Sugiyama, seeded fourth, cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 win over Belgium's Els Callens to book her place in the quarterfinals. Sugiyama will face Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria, who beat American Laura Granville 6-1, 6-3.


In other matches, Tatiana Panova of Russia downed compatriot Elena Dementieva 7-6 (5), 6-3 to set up a quarterfinal match with seventh-seeded Jelena Dokic, who was a 7-6 (7), 6-7 (2), 6-1 winner over Janette Husarova.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2004, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Venus Cruises Into Pan Pacific Open Quarterfinals

By Alastair Himmer

TOKYO (Reuters) - Venus Williams (news - web sites) breezed past Japan's Saori Obata 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the $1.3 million Pan Pacific Open Thursday.



The top seed, in her second tournament since a six-month injury layoff, played well within herself but still had too much power for Obata, taking 66 minutes to win her first match in Tokyo.


Williams struggled with her serve but otherwise showed no sign of the abdominal injury that sidelined her after she lost to younger sister Serena in last year's Wimbledon (news - web sites) final.


However, Venus bristled when asked if she had "gone easy" on Obata in front of her home crowd.


"Wow, loaded question!" snapped Venus, who was upset in the third round of the Australian Open (news - web sites) in her comeback last month.


On a more conciliatory note, she paid tribute to the "respectful" Japanese gallery.


"I don't always feel I'm appreciated for what I do. I don't expect to be everyone's hero but I do expect respect...so it was a refreshing change. You don't get that total respect anywhere else in the world."
The former world number one will face fellow American Chanda Rubin in Friday's quarter-finals.


Grimacing with pain, fifth seed Rubin battled through a knee injury to beat Japan's Akiko Morigami 7-5, 6-7, 6-3.


POOR START


Meanwhile, Russian Elena Dementieva's poor start to 2004 continued as she was beaten 7-6, 6-3 by compatriot Tatiana Panova.


Third seed Dementieva, who crashed out in the first round of the Australian Open after complaining of a fever, fell apart after losing the first-set tiebreak 7-5 and failed to push Panova in the second.


"I was playing bad today. I couldn't focus at all and found it difficult to find a rhythm," said Dementieva.


"Hopefully, I am just having a few bad days. I'm confident I'll start playing well again."


Panova next plays seventh seed Jelena Dokic, who overcame Slovakia's Janette Husarova 7-6, 6-7, 6-1.


Fourth seed Ai Sugiyama comfortably beat Belgian Els Callens 6-3, 6-3. The Japanese number one will play Magdalena Maleeva next after the Bulgarian thrashed American Laura Granville 6-1, 6-3.


Meanwhile, Pan Pacific Open organizers were left red-faced after a female spectator fell four meters after slipping through a loose floorboard in a temporary stand and had to be taken to hospital with minor injuries

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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2004, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Venus Williams of the United States clenches her fist as she celebrates upon defeating Japan's Saori Obata during the second round at the $1.3 million Pan Pacific Open women's tennis tournament in Tokyo, February 5, 2004. Williams won the match 6-3 6-4

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