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post #13 of (permalink) Old May 8th, 2004, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Williams Reaches Berlin Final But Hurts Ankle
Sat May 8, 2004 01:52 PM ET
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BERLIN (Reuters) - Former world number one Venus Williams overcame Croatian Karolina Sprem 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a surprisingly tight German Open semi-final on Saturday but hurt her ankle while serving for the match.

Third seed Williams, who twisted her left foot in the final game, said she hoped to be able to play Sunday's final, in which she would face Amelie Mauresmo.

The powerful Frenchwoman, seeded second in the claycourt tournament, produced a near-perfect display to crush Jennifer Capriati 6-2, 6-0 in the other semi-final.

"I don't know what I'll decide yet," American Williams said on whether she would be able to chase a third straight WTA Tour title after victories in Charleston and Warsaw.

"I will try to prepare for the match but I don't want to do anything stupid," added the elder Williams sister, who has to be careful with the French Open approaching on May 24.

Williams, recapturing her best form after a string of injuries, extended her winning streak to 15 matches but was made to work by her 19-year-old opponent.

The unseeded Sprem gave her a hard time and looked to be on her way to a major upset by opening up a 3-0 lead in the decisive set but Williams stepped up a gear to win an exciting contest which lasted just under two hours.

"I felt great and I never had the feeling I might lose," Williams said. "I twisted my foot a bit and I'll have it looked at."

By contrast, world number three Mauresmo took just 52 minutes to oust Capriati, the number six seed.

"I felt really good and noticed that my confidence was coming back," said Mauresmo, who has struggled with a back problem but is strongly suggesting here that she could be a threat at the French Open.

"In the important moments I always found the right answer," she added.

The 24-year-old Mauresmo made her breakthrough in Berlin in 1998, reaching the final as a qualifier, and won the title in 2001 with victory over Capriati in the final. American Capriati accumulated unforced errors in a one-sided semi-final. The 28-year-old former world number one was making her ninth appearance in the German capital.

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