Venus, Clijsters win through to Stanford semis
Sat Jul 30, 2005 7:34 AM BST
STANFORD, California, July 29 (Reuters) - Wimbledon champion Venus Williams out-slugged Jelena Jankovic to move into the semi-finals of the Stanford Classic on Friday.
Williams will face third seed Patty Schnyder, who trounced Iveta Benesova 6-2, 6-1.
Former Stanford champion Kim Clijsters was also impressive, beating Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-1. She'll face German 20-year-old Anna-Lena Groenefeld in the semi-finals, who upset sixth seed Nathalie Dechy 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Williams was her normal vigorous self, chasing down deep groundstrokes to the corners and powering them back for winners.
The second seed served efficiently, volleyed cleanly and impressed the seventh seeded Jankovic with the extent her power.
"Sometimes when she hit the ball I thought my arm would fall off," Jankovic said. "We are so differently physically. I have to get much stronger to keep up with her. She's really tall, but she runs like she's only five-feet tall. She's a great athlete."
Although Williams was pushed by the fleet Serbian in some extraordinary end-to-end rallies, the outcome was never in real danger.
"She likes to rally all day and I prefer short points," Williams said. "When I had a chance, I tried to move forward, but when I had to, I played long points. It's good for the crowd to see a newcomer coming back in rallies. It's exciting."
Clijsters, who recorded her sixth win over Hantuchova in six meetings, frequently attacked the Slovakian's second serve and outplayed her from the baseline.
"I saw the difference in her attitude in the second set," said the Belgian, who is 13-2 at Stanford. "Daniela let a few go at the end and maybe it shows she didn't what to do anymore."
Schnyder has been on fire on U.S. hard courts, winning the tournament in Cincinnati last week and easily brushing aside her opponents here. After winning her 40th match of the year, the 26-year-old Swiss said she was playing her best tennis ever.
"I've never been on a run like this before," she said. "I've never been this consistent. I don't lose in the first round anymore and am only losing to the great players. I've improved everything, but especially my mental game. I'm not afraid of being in hard hitting rallies anymore."
The most promising women's player that Germany has seen in some time, the 39th-ranked Groenefeld overpowered the veteran Dechy, who was impressed by her opponent's huge serve.
"I was controlling the game, and then she improved her level of serve," Dechy said. "I looked at her play and when I reacted, I was a little short."