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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2005, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Dubai 2005

Williams sisters on route to rare showdown

DUBAI: Serena and Venus Williams will be causing a surprise when they make a rare appearance together in a tournament outside a Grand Slam, at the Dubai Open women’s event which starts here on Monday.

Because the sisters hate to compete against each other they have only taken part in two tournaments Miami and Charleston outside the Slams in almost four years. And when they were due to meet each other in the semi-finals in Indian Wells four years ago, Venus withdrew ten minutes before the match claiming a wrist injury, prompting spectators to demand their money back and causing Serena to be booed in the final. They have never returned.

The charismatic superstars of tennis are together in the $585,000 Gulf tournament apparently because Venus last year brought back such fun reports to her younger sister about the belly-dancing, the camel riding, and the off-court entertainment and what she called its “Disneyland” atmosphere. Many of their rivals believe the Williams are stronger when they are together and are more likely to play better, and clearly the sisters still enjoy each other’s company.

The Williams sisters have not faced each other since the 2003 Wimbledon final, but the chances of their 13th meeting (Serena leads 7-5) increased when they were drawn in the same half, although the fifth-seeded Venus might find it hard to get past a quarter-final with Svetlana Kuznetsova, the US Open champion from Russia who is the fourth seed. Serena, the second seed, would meanwhile probably need to overcome Alicia Molik, the 24-year-old Australian who is one of the tour’s in-form players, having beaten top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo en route to Saturday’s final in Doha. afp

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2005, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Williams sisters set to dazzle Dubai
By Ahmed Abbas Rizvi

28 February 2005




DUBAI — The Williams sisters have been rarely seen at the same tournaments on the tour — other than Grand Slams and Tier 1 events.

But the Dubai Tennis Championships, owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free, has a reputation unparalleled. And so, after enticing Andre Agassi to make his first appearance, they have managed to lure Serena Williams and World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport for the fifth edition of the $585,000 Dubai Tennis Championships Women’s Open, a Tier II WTA event. Their appearance in Dubai only confirms the popularity of the Championships.

The Dubai Women’s Open has managed an array of stars that is hard to find anywhere in the world outside of the four Grand Slams.

“We have six of the Top 10 players in the world, 12 of the Top 20 in the world, we have the world’s number one and we have between our players the winners of 17 Grand Slams,” announced a proud Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of Dubai Duty Free.

“I think that speaks for itself. We are going to have a fantastic tournament.”

While Davenport is the top seed, Serena is the second seed and is in the tougher bottom half of the draw, along with her sister Venus.

And like Agassi-Roger Federer in the Men’s Open, the women’s semifinal has the appetising prospect of a rare semifinal between the Williams sisters. And we could see a repeat of the Australian Open final if Davenport and Serena safely negotiate through one of the strongest fields ever assembled for the Dubai Women’s Open.

It won’t be easy for Americans though.

Among those the competing for the title will be Venus Williams, Russian superstars Anastasia Myskina and Svetlana Kuznetsova, and one of the fastest rising stars on the tour, Australian Open quarter-finalist Alicia Molik, who reached the finals in Doha last week.

Kuznetsova, the US Open champion, and Myskina, the French Open champ, have yet to win the Dubai event. But last year Kuznetsova came close, beating Venus Williams before conceding the final to Justine Henin-Hardenne, who celebrated her second consecutive Dubai title.

Myskina reached the quarter-finals before coming up against a red-hot Meghann Shaughnessy.

Serena, who ended two years in the tennis elite wilderness by winning the Australian Open and now sits at No. 2 in the world, is making her first trip to Dubai. Reports of the warm Dubai hospitality and the unique world-class tennis stadium from sister Venus, encouraged her to make the trip.

And like Agassi in the men’s draw, first-time visitor Serena are sure to keep the turnstiles buzzing.

The opening day of the event will see the hard-hitting fifth seed Venus, who has played in Dubai twice previously including last year when she was knocked out in the quarter-finals, taking on Silvia Farina Elia of the Italy, the World No.22.

Also on view today will be Indian sensation, Sania Mirza — one of the three wild cards along with veteran Conchita Martinez of Spain and Tunisia’s Sfar. Selima. The 18-year-old opens her campaign against World No.36 Jelena Kostanic of Croatia. And if she wins that, she runs into US Open champion Kuznetsova in the second round.

Martinez and eight seed Patty Schnyder will also be in action on the opening.

But those hoping to feast their eyes on top seed Davenport, second seed Serena, third Myskina and fourth seed Kuznetsova, however, will have to wait till the second round as the top four have earned a first-round bye in the 28-player event, which will be looking for a new champion as two-time winner Justine Henin-Hardenne is not here to defend her title because of injury.




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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2005, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Williams Sisters Visit Dubai Duty Free




Dubai, UAE, February 27, 2005:
American Superstars Venus and Serena Williams eased into their Dubai Women's Open campaign today by making a special visit to the award-winning Dubai Duty Free at the Dubai International Airport.

The pair, who met with Dubai Duty Free Managing Director Colm McLoughlin, spent two hours browsing through the shops and learnt about the operation which last year saw sales surpass US$500 million (Dhs1.8 billion). Both took particular interest in the gold bangles and earrings, and also checked out the latest Sony Ericsson mobile phones.

Venus, who has competed in the Dubai Tennis Championships two times before, last year promised to bring her sister back to show her the many wonders of Dubai.

Mr McLoughlin said: "We are thrilled that both Venus and Serena have decided to come to Dubai together and we can't wait to see them in action on centre court this week."


For more information: John Rynehart, Press Officer, (tel) +9714 3210008; (fax) +9714 3211688; (email)
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 1st, 2005, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Venus Williams ousted in Dubai

March 1, 2005
Staff and Wire Reports

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Venus Williams struggled with a blister on her right palm and lost in the first round for the first time in four years, beaten by Italy's Silvia Farina Elia 7-5, 7-6 (6) in the Dubai Women's Open on Monday.

Williams' previous first-round ouster was to Barbara Schett at the 2001 French Open. She also lost her opening match at Moscow in October 2002 to Magdalena Maleeva but after a first-round bye.

Farina Elia had lost all nine of her previous matches to Williams since 1997. Williams, seeded fifth, made 66 unforced errors in a match lasting 2 hours, 4 minutes.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 1st, 2005, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Farina shocks Venus
By Edwin Ashie-Nikoi

1 March 2005




DUBAI — Indian teenager, Sania Mirza, put up an incredible display to oust Jelena Kostanic of Croatia 6-7, 6-4, 6-1 in the first round match of the women’s DDF-sponsored Dubai Open Tennis Tournament at the Dubai Tennis Stadium here yesterday.

Silvia Farina Elia of Italy pulled off a stunning win over fifth seed Venus Williams of the US in their first round encounter last night.

The 33-year-old ranked 22nd in the world took the firs set 7-5 as Williams struggled. The American then took a medical break before the start of the second set to have treatment on her hand, which was then bandaged.

Williams, who appeared tired during the match, could not handle her fitter opponent’s approach. She slightly found her old form only in the second with some fine passing shots as she fought back from 2-4 down to take the lead 6-5.

Elia, however, kept the same pace to tie 6-6 and went on to win the tiebreak 8-6 and the match 7-6.

Sania, the 18-year-old wild card gave her more experienced opponent, ranked 36th in the world, a lot of problems with her powerful forehand drives. Sania’s double-fisted backhand shots were also deadly accounting for some of her points. Sania, who won her first WTA title recently in her home city of Hyderabad, received an equally strong support from the Indian community here, which in no small way inspired her to victory. She gratefully acknowledged the support given her saying: “This is my second home.”

Despite Sania’s incredible victory, she kept her fans sometimes on the edge with some erratic play, raising eyebrows if she could make it. Her inconsistency came to the fore in the first set where she let a 4-1 lead slip for Kostanic to come into the match to level 4-4. The Croat went on to take the set 7-6 in 49 minutes after winning the tiebreak 7-2.

The second set was very close with Kostanic taking the first game after she broke the Indian teenager. But Sania responded in the same vein though she let a 40-15 slip before winning on a second deuce to level 1-1.

Both players held their serves in the next two games to be on level 2-2 but Kostanic again broke Sania in the fifth for a 3-2 lead. Sania had a great chance in that game to have taken it after she virtually dominated for a 40-0 lead following some superb serves. But she again faltered for Kostanic to force deuce and went on to win the game for the advantage.

Kostanic, who was serving in the sixth game, double faulted and a superb return by Sania gave her a 30-0. Though Kostanic tried to save the game, Sania held firmly to draw level 3-3. The two players held their grounds till Sania went in front 5-4 in the ninth game despite Kostanic forcing deuce.

The Indian teenager was greatly inspired in the tenth game as she came up with some spectacular passing shots which caught her opponent flat-footed most of the time. She kept the same form and without allowing Kostanic to win any point, closed the game with a long groundstroke to the left of her opponent to level 1-1.

Sania was completely transformed in the deciding set with an astonishing display. Despite some resistance from the Croat, she soon breezed into a 4-0 lead. But she had to fight back in that game from 0-40 to force deuce and go on to break Kostanic.

After winning the fifth game Kostanic took the next to cut down the scores 5-1. But Sania was not to be denied as she hit back in style to win the seventh game without Kostanic taking a point to wrap up the match in 1hr 58mins.

Meanwhile, Spain’s Conchita Martinez, the oldest player in the championship at 32 years, defeated Shinobu Asagoe of Japan 6-3, 6-4. But the Spaniard was stretched in both sets with some fine performance from the Japanese.

Asagoe appeared to be in control in the opening set but the much-travelled Spaniard soon seized control to take the first set. The Japanese started the second set in the same vein as she led twice before Martinez again took over to race to victory.

In other matches of the day, Chinese pair Jie Zheng and Na Li caused a big sensation by clinching berths in the second round. Jie upset Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 while Li beat Cara Black of Zimbabwe 6-2, 6-7, 6-3. Jelena Jankovic of Serbia defeated Paola Suarez of Argentina 6-3, 6-1; Marion Bartoli of France beat Galina Voskoboeva or Russia 6-1, 7-5.


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Venus doesn't have the stomach for Dubai Openfunction photoPopup(photoUrl){ photoPopupWindow = window.open(photoUrl,"photoPopup","width=480,heigh t=525,toolbar=no,status=no,resizable=no,scrollbars =yes"); photoPopupWindow.focus();} Tue March 1, 2005 9:02 AM GMT+02:00


DUBAI (Reuters) - Injury-hampered Venus Williams made a first-round exit at the Dubai Open on Monday, going out 7-5 7-6 to Italian Silvia Farina Elia.

After more than two hours of tennis that only the most devoted of fans could enjoy, the fifth seeded American capitulated more to a stomach injury and blisters on her racket hand than to her opponent.

Williams blamed the stomach injury she sustained the week before last at her previous tournament -- the Antwerp Diamond Games where she lost in the final to Amelie Mauresmo.

"Blisters were a factor, but mostly my stomach wasn't that great," said Williams. "I did it in the last tournament in the semi-finals, and I was serving at 40 percent in the final.

"The first time I served again was Sunday and there wasn't a lot I could do out there. And when your serve isn't good it throws the rest of your game off too."

Only three games went with serve in the opening set at the end of which Williams had her right hand bandaged. The second set then followed the same pattern until, at the end of five more breaks, Farina Elia led 5-2.

But the Italian failed to win two match points and was broken in the next game and she dropped her game once more as a desperate Williams levelled at 5-5.

Doing little more than keeping the ball in play, and not doing even that very well, Farina Elia surrendered a further four match points in the tiebreak before a rare spirited rally ended with Williams hitting wide.

Williams said even if she had won the second set, she might not have played the third.

"I really don't know if I would have played the third, and if I would have won the match I really don't think I would have continued the tournament," she said.

"Now I'll have to rest it. My next tournament is in Miami in about 20 days. If I'm really fit and ready to go then I'll play. If I'm not, then I won't."

In another match, Indian teenager Sania Mirza came from a set down to beat Croatia's Jelena Kostanic 6-7 6-4 6-1 and set up a meeting with fourth seed and U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova "It was a really good match, I think," said Mirza, 18. "Maybe a few points in the first set could have made the difference and maybe I could have won in straight sets. "In the third set I told myself that I had to try and get the first two games and I knew that she was going to crack. And that is exactly what happened."

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Serena Williams Reaches Dubai QuartersSerena Williams Rallies to Beat Russia's Elena Bovina and Reach Dubai Quarterfinal

The Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates Mar 2, 2005 — Australian Open champion Serena Williams overcame a rough first set and tricky wind Wednesday to beat Russia's Elena Bovina 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 and reach the Dubai Women's Open quarterfinals.

Williams was making her first tour appearance since a stomach illness forced her to withdraw before the Paris Indoor quarterfinals last month.

"I don't know what I was doing there tonight," she said. "I think I was trying to kill myself out there. It was really windy and I hadn't played in the wind. All my shots were going out of here."


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Top-ranked Lindsay Davenport had an easier time, defeating qualifier Jie Zheng of China 6-2, 7-5. Davenport will next meet Conchita Martinez, who ousted seventh-seeded Nathalie Dechy of France 6-1, 6-2.

French Open champ advanced Anastasia Myskina when Marion Bartoli of France quit while trailing 4-2 because of tendinitis in her left knee. Myskina faces eighth-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, who downed Li Na of China 6-3, 7-6 (8).

Williams, seeded second, next plays Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, who beat Elena Likhovtseva of Russia 7-5, 6-4. The other quarterfinal pits wild card Sania Mirza of India against Jelena Jankovic of Serbia-Montenegro both won Tuesday.

Williams lost the opening five games and the first set, raising the prospect she would follow sister Venus out of the tournament. She then regrouped behind booming serves and strong groundstrokes to take the next two sets.

Williams has won both her matches against Hantuchova.

"It is a difficult court to play on," Hantuchova said. "Very fast and sometimes you feel you have no control over the ball."

Davenport won the last four games to eliminate Jie.

"I started well and finished well, but played some so-so games in the middle," said Davenport, who had a first-round bye.

Davenport has advanced to the final of her last two events the Tokyo Indoors last month and the Australian Open in January.

Myskina reached her fourth consecutive Dubai quarterfinals in four appearances, but has yet to advance further.


Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Serena overcomes wind, Russian to prevail
Davenport, Myskina among quarterfinalists
News Services

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Australian Open champion Serena Williams overcame a rough first set and tricky wind Wednesday to beat Russia's Elena Bovina 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 and reach the Dubai Women's Open quarterfinals.

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Williams was making her first tour appearance since a stomach illness forced her to withdraw before the Paris Indoor quarterfinals last month.

"I don't know what I was doing there tonight," said the second seed. "I think I was trying to kill myself out there. It was really windy and I hadn't played in the wind. All my shots were going out of here."

Top-ranked Lindsay Davenport had an easier time, defeating qualifier Jie Zheng of China 6-2, 7-5. Davenport will next meet Conchita Martinez, who ousted seventh-seeded Nathalie Dechy of France 6-1, 6-2.

French Open champ advanced Anastasia Myskina when Marion Bartoli of France quit while trailing 4-2 because of tendinitis in her left knee. Myskina faces eighth-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, who downed Li Na of China 6-3, 7-6 (8).

Williams next plays Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, who beat Elena Likhovtseva of Russia 7-5, 6-4. The other quarterfinal pits wild card Sania Mirza of India against Jelena Jankovic of Serbia-Montenegro.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 11th, 2005, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Serena retires with shoulder injury

Posted: Saturday March 5, 2005 12:00AM; Updated: Saturday March 5, 2005 12:01AM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Serena Williams retired from her semifinal match against Jelena Jankovic at the Dubai Women's Open on Friday with a strained tendon in her right shoulder.

The unseeded Jankovic was leading 6-0, 4-3, when Williams pulled out 59 minutes into the match. That put Jankovic into the final against top-seeded Lindsay Davenport, who struggled through an upset stomach to beat Patty Schnyder 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.


Williams blamed the balls being used in the tournament for her injury.

"Ever since I have been practicing here, I am getting the same symptoms with my ribs and my arms hurting in a really bad way," Williams said. "It was hurting really bad. One more point and I think I was going to die.

"All the players had a debate of these balls and I am not the only one talking about it. We all decided not to use these balls in the championships and in the tournaments leading up to the championships. It's only here and there that these balls are being used."

Williams was so frustrated during the match that she smashed her racket three times after losing her serve in the opening game of the second set, receiving a racket abuse warning.

Jankovic was disappointed that Williams conceded.

"I knew there was something wrong because she wasn't serving like she normally does," Jankovic said. "She is one of the best servers in women's tennis. I am really disappointed that we couldn't play a real match."

Davenport was one game from losing, as Schnyder led 6-4, 5-4. But the American surged to win nine of the last 10 games and reach her third final of 2005.

"Patty obviously is a good player and I have lost to her before," Davenport said. "I was just able to eke out the second set and then in the third set I played a lot better. She started to err a lot more on her first serve."

Speaking about her stomach problem, Davenport said: "I had the feeling that I was going to get sick. So I was just trying to keep the points short for a few games. Then the trainer came out and gave me some anti-nausea medicine."

In the second set, Davenport broke Schnyder in the third game. Leading 3-1, Davenport suffered with her upset stomach, allowing Schnyder to break back and tie the set at 3.

Davenport had a couple of break points in the seventh game but Schnyder survived. However, Schnyder lost her serve in the 11th game and Davenport served out the set.

In the third set, Davenport had three breaks, finishing with a forehand cross at match point.

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