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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2005, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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Diamond Games 2005

Twinkle of diamonds brings Venus back to tournament

Associated Press
Brussels, Belgium, February 14, 2005


Venus Williams adores diamonds and the attraction of winning a euro1-million (US$1.3 million) racket studded with them has brought her back to the Diamond Games tournament this week.

Former top-ranked Kim Clijsters hopes to revel in the cheers of a home crowd again as she resumes her career following a lost year because of a wrist injury.

The US$585,000 WTA tournament opening Monday in northern Antwerp has France's Amelie Mauresmo as the No. 1 seed and boasts three more top-10 players - Anastasia Myskina, Williams and Alicia Molik. Williams is the only player though who will have a shot at winning the diamond-encrusted trophy this time around. It goes to the first player who wins the tournament three times in any five-year span and she won the first two editions of the Diamond Games before she had to skip last year's edition with a knee injury. The American fashion student with her own interior design company has never hidden her love of gems and there was never any doubt she would come back for a shot at a third title _ and the trophy. After two injury-marred seasons, Williams is trying to recover her form of old and reached the final 16 of the Australian Open last month before falling to Molik, a potential opponent in the Antwerp final.

On her side, Williams has never been beaten in Antwerp. Clijsters also has fond memories of Antwerp, a city just a few dozen kilometers from her home. She reached the final two years ago before winning the tournament last year in front of a crowd of 15,000 at the Sports Palace.

It was her last hurrah before her left wrist wreaked havoc with her career. It needed surgery over the summer and even afterward, one hesitant return in October was proof enough recovery needed more time.

"I am happy to be back," she said in the run-up to the tournament, although she stressed victory was still outside her grasp. "I hope to get past one or two rounds."

From ranked No. 1 in 2003, she has fallen to 49th ahead of Monday's weekly update and no longer enjoys any protection in the seedings.

Her first-round opponent, Jelena Kostanic, already has climbed 15 places ahead of her and if Clijsters makes it into the second round, she will face Russian Nadia Petrova, No. 12. She then would play Williams in Friday's quarterfinals.

The top four seeds have a bye in the first round.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 17th, 2005, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Sports in Brief | Venus Williams wins in BelgiumCompiled By The Inquirer Staff


Venus Williams opened her quest to claim a $1.3 million gold-and-diamond trophy with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Virginie Razzano of France yesterday, setting up a quarterfinal against Kim Clijsters in the Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium.

The third-seeded Williams would earn the trophy by becoming the first player to win the tournament three times in a five-year span. She was the champion in 2002 and 2003, then missed last year because of a knee injury.

"I'm feeling good and feeling healthy," Williams said. "It is my second tournament of the year, and I'm on a good rhythm here."

Clijsters, like Williams a former No. 1, knocked off fifth-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia, 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-1. It was Clijsters' first action in four months; the Belgian star had been out with a left wrist injury that cost her much of 2004.



Top-seeded Andy Roddick needed just 1 hour and 16 minutes to defeat Arnaud Clement of France, 6-3, 6-3, in the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 17th, 2005, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Venus to face Clijsters

Venus Williams opened her quest to claim a $1.3million gold-and-diamond trophy with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Virginie Razzano of France on Wednesday in Antwerp, Belgium, setting up a Diamond Games quarterfinal against Kim Clijsters.
The third-seeded Williams would earn the trophy by becoming the first player to win the tournament three times in a five-year span. She was the champion in 2002 and 2003, then missed last year with a knee injury.

Clijsters knocked off fifth-seeded Nadia Petrova 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 6-1.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 21st, 2005, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Clijsters sets up Venus match-up

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Kim Clijsters continued her comeback from a wrist injury with a 7-5 6-7 6-1 win over Russia's Nadia Petrova in round two of the Antwerp Diamond Games.
The Belgian will meet fellow former world number one Venus Williams in the quarter-finals after the American swept past France's Virginie Razzano 6-3 6-0.

Clijsters, sidelined since October, edged a high-quality first set.

But Petrova hit back in a second-set tiebreak before Clijsters pulled clear in the decider, breaking three times.

"Everything's fine with the wrist," said Clijsters.

"I could do everything I wanted to with my backhand - long backhand cross rallies, slicing. I really enjoyed every backhand.

My tennis was very good today

Venus Williams

"I had the intention of wearing Petrova down and I did. It was a relief to win a three-set match.

"These are the kind of matches I have been looking forward to for a long time."

And the Belgian is looking forward to facing a severe test from Williams.

"A quarter-final against Venus is a nice prospect," said Clijsters. "I saw her play and she is very strong right now, completely focused.

"It will be difficult on Friday, but fun as well."

Third seed Williams, who will get a gold and diamond-encrusted racket should she add to her 2002 and 2003 event wins, was barely troubled against Razzano.

"My tennis was very good today," she said.

"But it is no surprise to me because I feel very healthy and have been working well lately."

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 21st, 2005, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Mauresmo, Venus headed to Antwerp final
Antwerp, Belgium (Sports Network) - Former world No. 1 and top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo of France reached the final of the $585,000 Proximus Diamond Games with a hard-fought victory over Australian Alicia Molik on Saturday.

Mauresmo dispatched the fourth-seeded Molik, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), to appear in her second straight WTA final. Mauresmo was last week's Open Gaz de France runner- up to Russian Dinara Safina in Paris.

In the other semifinal match, third-seeded American Venus Williams bested second-seeded Anastasia Myskina of Russia, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. The two-time Antwerp champion Williams titled here in 2002 and 2003.

If Williams defeats Mauresmo in Sunday's final, she would receive a $1.3 million gem- studded racquet, the prize given to the first person to win this event three times in a five-year span. She skipped last year's edition of the Diamond Games due to a knee injury.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 21st, 2005, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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UPDATE 1-Venus sets up Diamond final with Mauresmo
Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:13 PM GMT
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BRUSSELS, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Venus Williams outgunned Anastasia Myskina 6-3 3-6 6-3 on Saturday to reach the final of the $585,000 Antwerp Diamond Games.

The American former world number one will face France's Amelie Mauresmo in Sunday's final.

Top seed Mauresmo earlier beat Australian Alicia Molik 6-3 7-6.

Mauresmo served 14 aces and dominated at the net against an opponent who was slow to pick up pace.

Mauresmo said: "I started well with some good serving and volleying and was able to stay in that zone all the time."

She added: "I saw Venus winning her quarter-final yesterday against Kim Clijsters and she is very strong at the moment. We'll see what happens tomorrow."

Williams started her semi-final in great fashion, hitting powerful serves and solid volleys to move 4-0 ahead after just eight minutes on her way to closing out the first set 6-3.

Unforced errors crept into the American's game in the second set allowing her Russian opponent to level but the power of Williams's serve proved decisive in the third set.



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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 21st, 2005, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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Girl's best friend? Not yet, Venus, racket full of diamonds must wait


Venus Williams will have to wait another year to try to win a $1.3 million racket studded with 1,702 diamonds.

Top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo beat Williams 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 Sunday and won the Diamond Games for her first victory of the year, denying Williams the gem-encrusted racket.

Williams needed to beat Mauresmo to win the gold-and-diamond trophy, which goes to the first three-time winner in any five-year span. Because she won the title two of the last four years, Williams will have another shot at the trophy next year.

Mauresmo trailed almost throughout the thriller at the sold-out, 14,600-capacity Sports Palace in Antwerp, Belgium, and fought from behind in the last two sets, belying her reputation for struggling under pressure.

“I sought a way to get back in it. That was so satisfying,” Mauresmo said.

In the tense final game, she needed five match points before finally pulling off the victory when she hit a shot past Williams at the net. Williams complained afterward of a stomach injury.

Mauresmo now has 16 career titles and closes in again on Lindsay Davenport at WTA No. 1, a position Mauresmo briefly held last year.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 21st, 2005, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Mauresmo denies Venus diamond trophy

February 21, 2005 10:10 IST


French top seed Amelie Mauresmo wrenched a diamond-encrusted golden tennis racquet from the grasp of Venus Williams on Sunday, when she beat the American 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the final of the Antwerp Diamond Games in Brussels.

Williams had been gunning for a third career title at the Belgian indoor tournament -- one which would have bagged her the trophy for keeps -- having won on both of her previous visits to Antwerp in 2002 and 2003.

But despite coming close, she led by a set and 5-3 and 4-2 in the third set, she was beaten for the first time at the event and missed her chance to end an 11-tournament drought without a title, the longest of her career.

"I was so close to winning and it is very frustrating. I wanted to win that incredible racquet so badly," Venus said.

"Amelie played a tough game today and the question was how to be fresh after my two latest evening sessions [against Kim Clijsters and Anastasia Myskina].

"I felt 100 percent at the start of the match but my stomach muscles started to hurt again after a while, especially when serving.

"I'll definitely be back next year - racquet or no racquet. This is a top-class event, all the players love it.

"I particularly like the antique shopping and the fashion, which is totally different from what I see in the United States. And as you know, I like to be different..."

MAURESMO THRILLED

Mauresmo was thrilled after clinching victory over the third-seeded American on her fifth match point.

"This was a great final for a great tournament," the Frenchwoman smiled. "It is incredible in Antwerp, the Sportpaleis is always full, every night with great audiences.

"I am so happy because the quality of my game went up and up during the whole week until the final... this is the result of all the work I have done with my coach.

"This was a great match and a great victory. I fought hard to win here... it makes me proud.

"Venus played very well to be up a set and 5-3, but I wasn't playing my best. I was making lots of mistakes and I wasn't as solid as I should have been.

"At 5-3 maybe she started thinking about winning the title, while I tightened my game up a bit. Then I knew I had to hang in there."

Mauresmo now has bigger trophies in sight.

"I have now as many tournament wins as (compatriot) Mary Pierce -- 16," she grinned.

"But she has won two Grand Slams. Today I proved I was able to win Grand Slam tournaments. That is now my goal."

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