Wednesday, May 5, 2004
Venus needs just 80 minutes to advance
BERLIN -- Venus Williams extended her winning streak to 12 matches by beating Eleni Danilidou 7-5, 6-3 Wednesday to reach the German Open quarterfinals.
Williams smacked a backhand volley into the open court to end the match after 80 minutes, but not everything came easily for the four-time major champion. She trailed 2-0 in the second set before raising her game.
The third-seeded Williams is chasing her third straight title at the clay-court tuneup for the French Open.
Kim Clijsters also moved into the round of eight, overcoming a rocky comeback from a left wrist injury to get past qualifier Marta Marrero 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
Clijsters trailed 3-2 in the final set and needed three match points before winning in two hours.
"I definitely didn't play the best tennis match of my career," Clijsters said, adding that her wrist isn't completely healed after a six-week layoff.
"Being on the court and not being able to hit the ball the way you like to is frustrating. But winning, no matter how, is satisfying. It's good to have a tough match like this," Clijsters said.
She wore a brace around her left wrist for tendinitis, which has sidelined her since pulling out at Indian Wells, Calif.
Second-seeded Amelie Mauresmo had an easier time reaching the quarterfinals, needing just 50 minutes to coast past Gisela Dulko 6-1, 6-2.
Also, Elena Dementieva edged Stephanie Cohen-Aloro 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
The brace hampered Clijsters' two-handed backhand, which she was unable to practice during her layoff.
At one point in the second set against the 81st-ranked Marrero, Clijsters dropped five straight points, all on backhands. After losing the set, the Belgian smashed a ball against a wall.
"She was definitely putting pressure on my backhand," Clijsters said. "I'm not consistent, but I will try to work myself back to where I am consistent."
She now faces Karolina Sprem, who eliminated Meghann Shaugnessy 6-2, 7-6 (3).
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