Venus Williams gets a rematch with Davenport
By The Associated Press
CARSON, Calif. - Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport advanced to the JPMorgan Chase Open semifinals with easy victories Friday, setting up a rematch of last week's final at Stanford.
Williams defeated 11th-seeded Francesca Schiavone of Italy 7-5, 6-1, and No. 3 Davenport beat seventh-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals. Top-seeded Serena Williams needed nearly two hours to get by No. 8 Vera Zvonareva of Russia 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in front of 7,749 at Home Depot Center - the largest outdoor crowd to watch a women's pro tennis match in the Los Angeles area. A giveaway of 5,000 Serena bobblehead dolls was part of the evening.
"I loved the crowd," Williams said. "I promise I'll keep coming back here forever because I've never had so much support."
Serena advanced to play fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva, who beat fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.
Serena trailed in the third set until breaking Zvonareva at 4-3 when the Russian double-faulted. Williams fired two aces at more than 100 mph to hold for a 5-3 lead. She won on her second match point when Zvonareva's lob sailed long.
"It was really tough to keep concentration," Zvonareva said. "Maybe that's why I made a few mistakes. She was playing really great. Her serve was really good and it was really tough to return it."
Zvonareva matched Williams with deep groundstrokes, often keeping the American on the run.
"My technique is a little better than what it was at Wimbledon. That's one of the things I've been working on," Williams said. "My groundstrokes were pretty solid."
Trailing 3-2 in the final set, Williams had the chair umpire call for bobby pins to be brought out. She secured two of them in her hair on the changeover.
"My hair kept getting in my face and my eye," she said.
Venus Williams is playing the Chase Open for the first time since 1997, even though it's located near her childhood home of Compton. She improved to 4-0 against Schiavone, who reached the semifinals last year before losing to eventual champion Kim Clijsters.
Davenport beat Williams 7-6 (4), 5-7, 7-6 (4) for the first time in four years to win last week's Bank of the West tournament at Stanford. Williams has a 12-11 career edge over Davenport, who has reached the Chase Open final seven of the last eight years and won three times.
"My whole goal is to make less errors. I had a ton of errors and that didn't help my cause at all," Williams said. "My serve was a little better last week, but I feel I can pick it up when I need to. I'm pretty focused on what I'm doing."
They played nearly three hours in 95-degree heat before Davenport ended a six-match losing streak against Williams.
"I had a really good win last week and I'm doing well so far," Davenport said. "Right now I cannot be anything but really happy with where I'm at and what I've been able to do the last few weeks. Wimbledon was a huge step because I finally feel I started to play good tennis."
INDIANAPOLIS - There will be no rematch of last year's title match in the RCA Championships.
Defending champion Andy Roddick did his job Friday night by defeating sixth-seeded Dominik Hrbaty in their quarterfinal match. But 12th-seeded Nicolas Kiefer ousted 2003 runner-up Paradon Srichaphan in the other quarter.
Roddick defeated Hrbaty 6-2, 6-3, and Kiefer saved five break points in a tiebreaker before defeating fourth-seeded Srichaphan 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5) in a match that lasted 2 hours, 33 minutes and included 131 points.
The first set lasted nearly 90 minutes, including a pair of 20-point games and another that took 22 points before it was completed. Srichaphan opened a 6-2 lead in the first tiebreaker before he double faulted to give Kiefer life and the German eventually tied the breaker at six with another double fault by his opponent.
Earlier, Ivan Ljubicic overcame an on-court bee sting and upset third-seeded Sebastien Grosjean. He'll meet Roddick in one semifinal Saturdaty and Gregory Carraz will play Kiefer for the second spot in Sunday's title match.
Ljubicic took a medical timeout in the 12th game of the opening set after a bee stung him in the buttocks. He then returned to beat Grosjean 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.