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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 6th, 2005, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Paris Indoor 2005

Serena, Sharapova headline Paris Indoor Open

PARIS, Feb 6 (AFP) - Newly-crowned Australian Open champion Serena Williams continues her quest to reclaim the world number one spot when she headlines the EUR 454,000 (USD 585,000) Paris Indoor Open starting on Monday.

Williams, who jumped into second spot in the women's rankings behind Lindsay Davenport after her victory over her fellow American in Melbourne just over a week ago, returns to the spot where it all began for her six years ago.

The 23-year-old, making her fourth appearance here, won the first of her 26 WTA titles on carpet in the Pierre de Coubertin stadium back in 1999.

Since then she won seven Grand Slam titles and is the only player on tour to have won all the majors at if(flashinstalled == 2){document.write(" ");}else{document.write("[img]../banners/rad2256D.gif[/img]");} least once.

"I'm excited to be number two now," said former world number one after a difficult 18 months marred by injuries and family tragedy.

"It's been a long way coming back. I'm almost to my goal, and it feels great.

I'm at number seven (Grand Slam titles) now. I'm like, 'Yeah, I feel so excited to be here'."

Williams has won the Paris title twice, 1999 and 2003, and was a finalist in 2000 before falling to France's Nathalie Tauziat.

And the top seed is expected to lock horns again with another French hope, Amelie Mauresmo, who is seeded second here this week.

Both Williams' Paris titles have come at the expense of the 25-year-old Frenchwoman whom she thrashed again in the quarter-finals in Melbourne. Williams is 9-1 in meetings with Mauresmo.

Mauresmo, won the Paris title in 2001, and her only victory over Williams was on clay in Rome nearly two years ago.

The Frenchwoman, who held the world number one spot for five weeks last year after a breakthrough season when she won five WTA titles, returns to Paris after missing last year's event with a back injury.

Five of the world's top ten players will be competing in Paris this week with Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova, the revelation of 2004 after winning her first Grand Slam title and the Masters in Los Angeles, making her first appearance in the French event.

The 17-year-old Russian prodigy was beaten in three sets by Williams in an epic Australian Open semi-final, but is fresh from her victory over Davenport at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Sunday.

Russia's Elena Dementieva is seeded fourth with Australia's Alicia Molik completing the top five.

The line-up also includes French veteran Mary Pierce, the 1998 champion, and finalist in 1995 and 2004, along with France's Nathalie Dechy, also an Australian Open semi-finalist.

Belgian Kim Clijsters will not be defending her title as she recovers from a wrist injury that has kept her out of action for most of last season.

Seeds: 1. Serena Williams (USA), 2. Amelie Mauresmo (FRA), 3. Maria Sharapova (RUS), 4. Elena Dementieva (RUS), 5. Alicia Molik (AUS), 6. Nadia Petrova (RUS), 7. Nathalie Dechy (FRA), 8. Karolina Sprem (CRO).

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 8th, 2005, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Interview With Serena Williams

Serena Williams two-times winner of the tournament is back at the Open Gaz de France after a long year of absence. The youngest of the Williams recovered pretty well by winning the first Grand Slam of the season in Australia. Meet the great favourite of the week.

What did you do since Melbourne ?

I took some holydays in Asia to relax a little. But I didn’t celebrate too much because the season has just started and it’s still a long way to go. I am getting a lot of rest and trying to keep my energy for the matches. I didn’t even go for shopping yet since I am in Paris…

Is there a love story between you and the Open Gaz de France ?

I’ve always liked this city and specially the Open Gaz de France. That was my first win on the WTA Tour and I like it because it’s a cosy tournament. I don’t feel too much pressure here, which is cool. Besides, I take any chance or opportunity to come to Paris.

After an eight month injury, is the real Serena definitely back ?

My knee is nearly at 100%. I don’t have any apprehension at all and I’m excited playing at this level again. My victory at the Australian Open was a great relief especially after such a long absence. It gives me a lot of momentum for the rest of the season and a lot of confidence too.

Do you want to be WTA N°1 again this season ?

My goals are to win Grand Slams and important tournaments. If I do so, I believe the ranking will pretty much come with it…(laughters) The N°1 raking is difficult to reach because you have to stay focused and dedicated during the whole year.

What kind of relations do you have with the French public ?

To be honest, I like Paris so much that I also like its public. Whenever I come here, I always play against French players and the crowd is always going “Allez Amélie!” or “Allez Nathalie”! I am used to it now and it doesn’t bother me. Like I told you, I love French people, I love Paris and I love the language.

What will you be wearing this week on the court ?

I will wear some flowing fun skirts and a lot of cut outs on my top. You will see a lot a skin !

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 9th, 2005, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Sharapova withdraws

From correspondents in Paris
February 10, 2005
WIMBLEDON champion Maria Sharapova, the third seed from Russia, confirmed today that she has withdrawn from the $US585,000 ($764,100) Paris Indoor Open because of illness.


Third seed Sharapova, the revelation of 2004 after winning her first Grand Slam title and the Masters in Los Angeles, had received a first round bye and was scheduled to play her opening match tomorrow against France's Tatiana Golovin.

But the 17-year-old Russian, who beat world No.1 Lindsay Davenport on her way to the Pan Pacific Open title in Tokyo on Sunday, said that she was suffering an upper respiratory illness.

"I'm very disappointed I won't be playing in Paris this year," said Sharapova, who arrived in the French capital on Monday afternoon from Tokyo.

"I'm not in my best condition and will not be able to perform at my best. I hope I can come back next year and play in front of the Parisian crowd."

Sharapova reached the Australian Open semi-finals where she was beaten by eventual champion Serena Williams after holding three match points in an epic three-setter.

World No.3 Sharapova is scheduled to play at the Qatar Open in Doha on February 21.

Her place in the Paris tournament will be filled by lucky loser Sandra Mamic of Croatia.

Second seed Amelie Mauresmo, the 2001 champion here, opens her campaign tomorrow in her second round match against fellow Frenchwoman Mary Pierce, winner in 1998.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 2005, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Williams coasts through in Paris
Sportal


Australian Open champion Serena Williams has progressed to the third round of the Open Gaz de France in Paris after a crushing straight-sets win over Stephanie Aloro-Cohen.

Williams, the top seed, completely dominated her French opponent, cruising through to the last 16 with a 6-3 6-2 victory.

In her first match since winning at Melbourne Park in January, Williams played all over Aloro-Cohen, while serving seven double-faults and smashing one racquet in the process.

"I have a problem, I think I have anger issues," the American said afterwards.



"I also had a 24 hour bug and I'm just trying to get over it."

"I've just switched to a new racquet. The new one breaks easier, even if you bounce it. I've smashed so many racquets but this is the first one here."

Russian third seed Maria Sharapova's tournament is over however after the Wimbledon champion was forced to withdraw ahead of her clash with Tatiana Golovin, due to a respiratory problem.

Sharapova's place in the draw was taken by lucky loser Sandra Mamic of Croatia.

In other second-round results, Russian Nadia Petrova overcame Selima Sfar of Tunisia 6-3 6-3, while seventh-seeded Italian Silvia Farina Elia was too good for local hope Virginie Razzano, winning their match 6-4 6-1.

French fifth seed Nathalie Dechy secured a 7-5 7-6 (7-4) over Croatian Jelena Kostanic, while compatriot Marion Bartoli was leading Eleni Daniilidou 6-3 2-0, when the Greek player was forced to retire due to injury.

Results from the Open Gaz de France, Paris:
First Round:
5-Nathalie Dechy (France) bt Jelena Kostanic (Croatia) 7-5 7-6 (7-4)
Marion Bartoli (France) bt Eleni Daniilidou (Greece) 6-3 2-0 ret

Second round:
1-Serena Williams (USA) bt Stephanie Cohen Aloro (France) 6-3 6-2
4-Nadia Petrova (Russia) bt Selima Sfar (Tunisia) 6-3 6-3
7-Silvia Farina Elia (Italy) bt Virginie Razzano (France) 6-4 6-1

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2005, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Serena Williams Pulls Out of Paris MatchSerena Williams Pulls Out of Match at Paris Tournament Because of Stomach Flu


PARIS Feb 11, 2005 — Top-seeded Serena Williams withdrew from the Open Gaz de France quarterfinals on Friday because of stomach flu while No. 2 Amelie Mauresmo advanced to the semifinals.

Williams, the Australian Open champion, had complained of feeling unwell after her second-round win over Stephanie Cohen-Aloro of France. Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova pulled out before the tournament because of a respiratory illness.

Mauresmo, the 2001 Open Gaz champion and twice runner-up, beat eighth-seeded Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria 6-2, 7-6 (2) and will meet No. 4 Nadia Petrova of Russia in the semifinals. Petrova advanced by beating Marion Bartoli of France 2-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Dinara Safina of Russia made her second straight Open Gaz semifinals when Williams withdrew and will meet Tatiana Golovin of France.

Golovin advanced after seventh-seeded Silvia Farina Elia of Italy retired with a right shoulder injury after losing the first set 6-0.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2005, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Mauresmo advances as Serena withdraws from Paris event
02-11-2005, 21h03




Francois Guillot - (AFP)
PARIS (AFP) - Second seed Amelie Mauresmo of France swept into the semi-finals of the 585,000-dollar Paris Indoor Open as US star Serena Williams withdrew from the event through illness.

Mauresmo, the 2001 champion, defeated eighth-seeded Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) in their quarter-final match after 1hr 23min on court at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium.

The French number one, who missed last year's event through injury, next meets Russian fourth seed Nadia Petrova who battled past unseeded Marion Bartoli of France 2-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Mauresmo coasted in the first set before world 26 Maleeva fought back after breaking serve in the fifth game of the second set and forced a tiebreak.

"I dominated the first half, but then let her get back into the match. But it's good to have a bit of a battle before the next round," said Mauresmo after her sixth win in seven meetings with Maleeva.

Mauresmo is now the tournament favourite in the absence of two-time winner Williams who withdrew from the event because of gastro-enteritis.

She became the second big name sidelined after Russian third seed Maria Sharapova opted out before the event began with an upper respiratory illness.

Playing in her first tournament since winning a second Australian Open title in Melbourne last month, the 23-year-old Williams had been due to play a quarter-final match later Friday against unseeded Russian Dinara Safina.

"I'm really sorry not to be able to play here, but I'm sick," the American told the crowd.

"I really wanted to play because it was here that I won my first title," added Williams, who won the first of her 26 titles here in 1999, and claimed her second in 2003, both at the expense of Mauresmo.

The US star left amid a stalking controversy after a spectator bluffed his way into her press conference just two days after he had evaded security to reach the players dressing room, sparking a police investigation.

Speaking in French, the man in his 30s asked the world number two: "You're not annoyed with me for walking into your locker room the other day? I just came to ask you for a kiss. I didn't have it, can I have it today?"

Williams' exit now sets up a battle of the teens between 18-year-old Safina, and France's Tatiana Golovin, 17.

Russian-born Golovin booked her second consecutive semi-final berth when seventh-seeded Silvia Farina Elia of Italy was forced to retire with a right shoulder injury.

Farina Elia, 32, received treatment from a physiotherapist three times before losing the first set 6-0 after 23 minutes and was trailing 30-0 on the French player's serve in the second set when she decided to call it a day.

Mauresmo's opponent Petrova, 22, had a topsy-turvy 2hr 18m battle against 37th-ranked Bartoli.

Petrova dropped her serve seven times and hit nine double faults against the 20-year-old Bartoli who called the physio for a left knee problem which hampered her from the third game of the second set.

"It was the only full match of the morning, so I couldn't let the spectators who were all supporting me down," said Bartoli of her decision to continue playing. "I would have even won the match if I'd been able to hold my serve."

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2005, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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French police question Serena stalker

PARIS (AFP) - American tennis star Serena Williams (news - web sites) was at the centre of a stalking scare after a spectator bluffed his way into a press conference just two days after he had evaded security to reach the players dressing room at the 585,000-dollar Paris Indoor Open here.

French police were questioning the man who had approached the seven-time Grand Slam winner as she talked to reporters to explain her decision to pull out of the tournament because of gastro-enteritis.

Speaking in French, the man in his 30s asked the world number two: "You're not annoyed with me for walking into your locker room the other day. I just came to ask you for a kiss. I didn't have it, can I have it today?"

"I'm a fan. You have to give it a go. You only live once."

Williams, twice a champion here and fresh from her Australian Open (news - web sites) triumph, replied "No" after hearing the translation and quickly left the conference room looking puzzled.

A WTA spokeswoman said that the man was being questioned by police to find out how he managed to make it into both the locker room and the press room which required special accreditation.

Playing in her first tournament since winning a second Australian Open title in Melbourne last month, the 23-year-old American had been due to play a quarter-final match later Friday against unseeded Russian Dinara Safina.

"I'm really sorry not to be able to play here, but I'm sick," said Williams.

"I really wanted to play because it was here that I won my first title."

Williams won the first of her 26 titles at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in 1999, and claimed her second in 2003.

She becomes the second big name to withdraw from the Paris event after Russian third seed Maria Sharapova withdrew before the tournament began with a respiratory illness.

Safina, 18, advances to meet France's Tatiana Golovin who booked her second consecutive semi-final place earlier Friday when seventh-seeded Italian veteran Silvia Farina Elia was forced to retire with a right shoulder injury.

Farina Elia, 32, struggled throughout the first set receiving treatment from a physiotherapist three times before losing it 6-0 after 23 minutes to 17-year-old Golovin and was trailing 30-0 on the French player's serve in the second set when she decided to call it a day.

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