Serena eases into Open Gaz de France quarters
February 05, 2003
Paris, France (Sports Network) - Australian Open champion Serena Williams won her opening match Wednesday at the $585,000 Open Gaz de France tennis event.
The top-seeded Williams blew past young Swiss Myriam Casanova in the first set en route to a 6-0, 6-4 decision at Stade Pierre de Coubertin.
Serena's quarterfinal opponent will be Slovakian Janette Husarova or Slovenian Tina Pisnik.
Williams is fresh off her title in Melbourne, where she captured her fourth straight Grand Slam tournament by once again besting her older sister Venus in a final. Serena also topped Venus in last year's French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open title matches.
Serena captured the Open Gaz de France in 1999 and Venus won last year's edition when she titled via walkover in the final. Yugoslavian Jelena Dokic was unable to compete in the 2002 championship match due to injury.
Venus opted against defending her title here this week, while Dokic is the fourth seed here.
The 21-year-old Serena and her fellow top-four seeds -- Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova, France's Amelie Mauresmo and Dokic -- received opening-round byes in this week's 28-player field.
Serena wasn't the only second-round winner on Day 3, as the second-seeded Hantuchova humbled Slovenian Maja Matevzic, 6-3, 6-3, and Spaniard Magui Serna overcame French crowd favorite Stephanie Cohen Aloro, 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (2-7), 6-3. Hantuchova awaits the Rita Grande-Elena Dementieva winner, while Serna will meet the third-seeded Mauresmo or Japan's Ai Sugiyama in the round of eight. Mauresmo will see her first action of any kind since cutting her 2002 season short with a knee injury in November.
In first-round action on Wednesday, Emilie Loit leveled fellow Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano, 6-3, 6-2; Husarova held off German Greta Arn, 1-6, 6-2, 6-0; and another French crowd favorite, Stephanie Foretz, outlasted Aussie Nicole Pratt, 6-2, 5-7, 7-5, on the indoor Greenset surface. Loit will have the crowd on her side Thursday when she encounters Dokic in a highly-anticipated second- round affair.
The 2003 Open Gaz de France titlist will claim $93,000.
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