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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
For those who have eyes yet could not see that Venus was and is still hampered by her knee.


Back to two legs, Venus shows how she can add to her slam collection

By Lisa Dillman

It took Venus Williams about 15 minutes to realise she would have to win this third-round match on two legs, not one. One healthy knee might be adequate against players ranked outside the top 30 but Daniela Hantuchova had just enough power to force Williams out of her comfort zone.

Williams lost the first four games in 15 minutes and promptly turned into a different player, running full out and testing her aching left knee, beset with tendonitis. The second version of Williams was enough to offset the initially cautious Venus as she defeated the Slovakian teenager 3-6 6-0 6-4 yesterday.

Last night, the men's highest remaining seed, Tim Henman, survived a third-set scare to beat his British countryman Greg Rusedski 6-4 6-3 1-6 6-3.

Henman finished the match in style, tipping a backhand overhead volley out of Rusedski's reach. He next meets Jonas Bjorkman.

Hantuchova meanwhile, seeded 32nd but ranked 28th, has plenty of talent but little experience at grand slam events. This was her first third-round appearance at a major.

The second-seeded Williams is the reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion and the victory put her winning streak at 23 matches. Her talent and experience compensated for any physical weaknesses.

Williams's intense discomfort in the second round against Kristina Brandi cast doubt over her title run. But she skipped practice on her off day and received treatment on her knee.

Hantuchova has defeated the likes of Jelena Dokic, Amanda Coetzer and Meghann Shaughnessy and has come close against the very best, leading Jennifer Capriati 7-5 4-1 before losing to her in Canada last year.

"I was really happy with the way I played the first set," she said. "I was moving her around and my serve felt pretty good. It's a shame I started badly in the second set."

From the start of the second set, Williams won eight consecutive games, taking the set 6-0 and building a 2-0 lead in the third. She let Hantuchova back into the third and the Slovak had a point to go up 5-4 but hit a forehand wide.

Williams now meets Magdalena Maleeva, who swept past Lisa Raymond 7-5 6-1.
The biggest threat in Williams's quarter of the draw is No8 Monica Seles. The four-time Open champion defeated Francesca Schiavone 6-4 6-4.

Third seed Martina Hingis beat Barbara Rittner 6-1 6-0 to set up a clash against 15th seed Coetzer, who beat Barbara Schett 6-3 6-3.

Bjorkman upset the 12th seed Guillermo Canas of Argentina 6-3 6-2 6-4.

American qualifier Alex Kim, who upset former champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the second round, was outclassed by Chilean qualifier Fernando Gonzalez 6-2 6-2 6-3. Gonzalez now plays Stefan Koubek, who downed Denmark's Kristian Pless 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 6-3.

One set stood between wild-card Taylor Dent and the final 16 but a double-fault on break point in the sixth game of the fifth set cost him dearly against Adrian Voinea of Romania, who defeated Dent 3-6 6-3 6-4 3-6 6-3.

Slovakia's Dominik Hrbaty brought France's Jerome Golmard, who had beaten Goran Ivanisevic in the previous round, back to earth with a 6-3 6-1 6-7 (6-8) 7-5 defeat.

Czech Jiri Novak also moved into the fourth round, beating Spain's Francisco Clavet 6-3 6-4 6-1, and 16th seed Thomas Johannson of Sweden downed Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco 5-7 6-2 6-2 6-4

Los Angeles Times, and wires


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VENUS Williams was all determination in her clash with Slovakia teenager Daniela Hantuchova yesterday. Picture: Michael Dodge.


Teenager gives Venus a torrid test
Bruce Matthews
19jan02
A RELIEVED Venus Williams at least knows now the painful left knee should carry her through the business week of the Australian Open.



The second seed survived what became a gruelling test of fitness as much as nerve on centre court yesterday to reach the fourth round.

Slovakia teenager Daniela Hantuchova was the unwitting overseer of the critical patella tendinitis examination which Williams passed with honours 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 in an enthralling 107 minutes.

"You always go into a match a little nervous after having a scare. But I found I could do quite a lot more than I did the other day, so it was exciting for me," Williams said.

Who said women's matches don't get interesting until the second week of the championships? This was high drama, at times tense and often exhilarating as the pair whipped each other from side to side across Rod Laver Arena with pulverising ground strokes.

If Williams is the current standard bearer as she chases a first Australian crown, then jot down 18-year-old Hantuchova as the future.

"It has been a while since I've had such a match, 4-all in the third (set). Winning those are some of the sweetest moments in your career," Williams said.

The Wimbledon and US Open champion gave indirect thanks to Hantuchova for preparing her for the tougher second week. And not merely for providing the test for the tendinitis which threatened to halt her Down Under campaign.

"Actually, I enjoy playing against her. She puts a challenge to you. She makes you realise the places where you have to work a little bit harder," Williams said.

"As long as you're winning easy, things seem like a piece of cake and you don't really see your flaws. So as long as there's players out there testing you and pushing you, it helps, not only me, it helps everybody."

William's 181km/h cannonball serve on the first point of the match became the unlikely forerunner to a tentative start as the tournament favourite cautiously moved for the wide balls, unsure how the left knee wearing a distinctive white strip bandage would withstand the strain. Her confidence rose each time she stretched to put full weight on the left knee and didn't feel any pain.

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CNNSI.com's Marc Lancaster breaks down the stats and strategies from Venus Williams' 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 victory over Daniela Hantuchova.

Venus Williams has now won 23 consecutive matches dating back to last year. Mark Dadswell/Getty Images


After a disastrous first set, Williams came out firing in the second, reeling off six games in a row to even the match. Hantuchova was serving to begin the third, and she raced to a 40-0 lead. But Williams chipped her way back into it and, after a few deuces, broke the young Slovak to win the game. Williams held serve in the next game, bringing her total run to eight consecutive games and giving her the momentum she needed to close out the match.


Hantuchova didn't seem fazed by Williams' serve, but she couldn't take advantage of it by holding her own serve. You don't see many players break Williams five times and still lose. But Williams broke Hantuchova seven times, so things more than evened out. The lanky Hantuchova clearly has the skills (she lost a total of six games in her first two matches), but she needs a little more strength and patience to hang with the elite players.


Things get much tougher now for Williams. She next faces the always-tough Magdalena Maleeva before a possible quarterfinal showdown with Monica Seles, who is playing very well. As long as her knee problems don't continue to flare up, though, Williams should be fine. Even at less than 100 percent, she's still the best player in the game.

Do you want further evidence that some see only what they chooce:kiss:
 

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I prefer to take Venus's own words, thank you. Journalists always look for ways to spice their stories up a bit, to make them more interesting. I just saw that match, I don't have lying eyes. It was a great match, both players played great tennis, and I never saw any sign of Venus have knee problems.

She had probs during her previous match, that much is certain, but not during this match.
 

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I really am not sure what to say coz anything I say will be argued back by some newspaper articles. But the truth is that Venus is fine today (not 100%, but at least 90%). The thing is that you guys always criticise other posters for not giving credit to Venus, and bashing Venus bla bla bla, but at the same time, I did not see you guys giving any credit to Daniela at all (not a bit I heard by 'some' of the Williams fan') Just focusing on Venus injury.

As rated_next said in the other post, if you decide to start a match, you also make a decision that whether you are fit enough to play. Whether Venus is fit or not in that match I think is irrelevent, what matters is that Venus comes through because she has the determination.

I ju
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wongqks

Fine and 100 percent are oh roughly speaking 10 percent different.

I'm taking nothing away from Daniella she played a great match...and we can't say what would have happened if Venus had not been hampered, but to say Venus started this match or even finished it feeling fine is highly unlikely. I've read articles and even Venus' own transcripted interview says she was tentative at first and didn't even move for some drop shots until much later in the match.

Tine

I read the interviews and I saw the match. Apparently I saw what Pam Cliff and many journalist saw...you saw,(what you and many like you on this board), wanted to see:wavey: As stated by one much wiser than I..."there is none so blind as he who will not see:kiss:
 

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itsallaboutinis,

while I appreciate what you said about Daniela and I have to admit I did not state it clearer when I define what I mean by fine. I think some of the Williams fan (not you of course) do take every single post non-Williams said very seriously. I mean no one is taking away the fact that she is injured, but no one can take away Daniela play a great match and deserve to win that set (this is the funny point, I mean if Daniela win that match, fine I can understand why some ppl want to defend Venus by saying she is injured, but to take all credit out from Daniela by saying that she will be romped past by Venus if Venus is not injured just because she won a set from Venus is quite laughable, you have to admit that)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've only read one post which stated that Venus would have taken the first set easily if not for the injury.

And you are correct that person is full of ca ca!

The problem with most on this board is that too many of us don't want to see the other persons point of view...and that's totally different from not seeing it.

There is no way to know what would have happened in different circumstances, but surely all can admit that if not for Venus' injury both players would have started this match with a completely different mind set, and who knows maybe Daniella could have even won it or flamed out by going for too much against a Venus whom she thought would run everything down. No one can say.

Let's just give both ladies there do and say fine match.
 

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There are no reason in arguing with you at all now, all the post I have been trying to be nice and at the same time try to be fair. I decide to get involve in this because I am fed up with you guys keep saying that there are many Williams haters out there. If there are, I have to say many of us will not be here since Williams is the dominant player at the moment, and if we 'hate' her so much then we would have just gone to the other sport where Williams is not playing.

PS. if you cannot accept that Venus lost a set today, injred or not do please get a life.
 

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okay sorry I did not get to read your last post before I psot another message, so if it is too harsh I am sorry.

But I am glad that you come to the consensus that both ladies play well, and I really do appreciate Venus present on the tour, if you don;t know it by now
 

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Venus said she was fine, Venus said her knee didn't give her any problems during this match!

If you saw Venus having probs because of her knee, maybe it's you who wanted to see it because you seem to think that otherwise Venus would never lose a set. I know what I saw! I looked at the match from a neutral viewpoint, unlike you.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wongqks

I think we are posting over one another...I didn't see your 2nd post where I resonded harshly. I've removed it and apologize for being so critical. I do see you point and I believe we agree.

Both ladies played a fine match and there is no way to know what would have happened under different circumstances.

My only point is that Venus was not 100 percent and regardless Daniella played an excellent match.
 

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There is no way to know what would have happened in different circumstances
Exactly, we don't know! We don't know what would have happened had Daniela nog hit that one double fault, or if...

Yet you say you DO know. You say that you know for certain that Venus lost because of her knee and that everyone who thinks otherwise has lying eyes.
 

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cool, I am glad to know that most people in here are very rational posters, I am glad that we made a general agreement, that is Daniela play great, Venus play greater this time round, and Daniela will sure make a big impact onto the tour this year!!!
 

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I'm sure we'll hear more of Daniela in the future.
This was the best match I've seen so far at the Aus Open. Venus fans shouldn't be worried that Venus lost a set, Venus just won a very difficult match! I think winning a difficult match shows a player's strength a lot more than those easy matches where one player overpowers the other. Venus needed to put in an extra effort...and she did! And because of that extra effort that was needed, we saw some great tennis from Venus.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Whatever Tine

I'm not even a Venus fan...I like her but then I like the power game. I just think it's a shame that you need to lie to yourself.

Of course there is the possibility that your comprehension is much superior to mine so if you would please point out where Venus said she was fine or 100%

Of course she did say she's doing well, taking precautions, doing her best(which of course is to be expected while still playing, kinda like she did at the US Open even though she was coughing sneezing and hoarse)...but I just can't find the I'm fine...100%


****************************************************


VENUS WILLIAMS defeated DANIELA HANTUCHOVA 3-6 6-0 6-4

Q. Venus, you looked like you really enjoyed that at the end after you got through such a tough one?

A. Definitely. It has been a while since I've had such a match, 4-4 in the third, really. Winning those these are definitely some of the sweetest moments in your career.

Q. Was it a scare or a stimulus?

A. I wasn't really afraid. I just kept telling myself that I'm just sitting back there and not doing anything about the situation; chances are I'll be on the flight home too. So I just did my personal best out there today. That's all I could do.

Q. Do you find that brings out the best in you, when somebody pushes you that way?

A. Definitely. She played very well. She kept getting the balls deep. She ran all kinds of ball down. She had a high first service percentage in; she was doing all the right things. So actually it was very good. She is a very good player. She's come a long way since the first time I played her a few months ago.

Q. At the beginning of the match, was that a question of maybe just getting the knee loosened up?

A. Yeah. You always go into a match a little nervous after having a scare. But I found that I could do quite a lot more than I did the other day; so it was exciting for me.


Q. Did it hamper you at all?

A. I felt very good today, very good. I felt like I could move. She hit a few drop shots that I didn't run for at first. But then there was a few towards the end that I did very well on.


Q. Venus, in terms of the injury, I mean, do you think that it is physically tougher on players' bodies now than it ever has been?

A. As far as playing a lot, maybe?

Q. Yes. The schedule, the racquets, the hard courts, everything?

A. I think it's true tennis has changed since its beginnings, and there's a lot more on the players as far as playing tournaments and being - especially the top players, getting into the final four, the Finals. So, if anything, you should take very good care of yourself, and as long as you do that, normally, it's okay.

Q. Venus, probably more importantly, how is the knee now that it has cooled down?

A. I feel well. Just, you know, I took immediate precaution, and just do my best to keep all the swelling out. But I've got a good Mom and I've got a good trainer with me, so they were doing everything they could do to make it possible I was here today.


Q. Did you ice it, or what was the procedure after the match?

A. Yeah. Ice is my best friend now.

Q. Venus, you have been criticised for maybe not playing as much as other players. But maybe there's something in that for you, to protect your body a little bit more, and stay fresh and hungry and not jaded. Do you think there's something to be said for playing a more limited schedule?

A. I think that, really, my schedule really just mirrors my personality. Lots of players are able to play quite a few matches. But if I would just do one thing in my life I would be terribly bored. So I've got to do what makes me happy, and playing the amounts of tournaments that I've played so far has made me happy, and for me that's what's best.

Q. In terms of the match, to come back from 0-40 in that second game of the second set, was that where you think you turned it around or - - -?

A. Oh, really, I was just telling myself to hopefully keep the unforced errors down. But she played very well. Every ball kept coming back. If I put more pace on it came back harder. It was a very challenging match. But definitely, when you come back from being far down, being down 0-40 is not only boosting for yourself, but your opponent starts to think a lot more.

Q. Venus, how do you describe the difference between the first set and the second set? Did you just get a lot better in the second and she sort of started choking up a bit; or how do you explain the difference between the first and second sets?

A. Well, really, I just, since I've been out here a little bit longer and I've been in this kind of situation more than she did, I probably was more prepared to deal with some of the stress and all the things that go into this. But she played very well. Right up to the end I had to fight for every point, that's for sure. But even the first set was a little tough. I had a double break against me, and that's hard to come back, against you, if she serves very well. So I just had to do what it takes and try to dig out of it.


Q. So do you think experience was the difference perhaps?

A. It could have been. It could have been.

Q. Venus, you looked pretty shaky when you were going down 0-4 in the first set, and a little ginger on your foot and stuff, on your leg. Did you ever at any point think, "Boy, this isn't going to loosen up. I'm not going to be able to play better"? Did you think you might sort of stop?

A. No, I didn't feel that I would stop. I just wanted to make sure everything was okay, and I think that - I didn't hit yesterday, and I just had about fifteen, twenty minutes today, so I hadn't really tested it so I didn't know how far I could go. But I went very far.


Q. She's, what, I think 18. She played very well today. I think your experience showed through. But clearly, she's going to be one to watch, and maybe someone you are going to have to get used to playing more often. ?

A. M'mm. Actually, I enjoy playing against her. She puts a challenge to you. She makes you realise the places where you have to work a little bit harder, and it's very nice to get that challenge. Because as long as you are winning easy, things seem like a piece like of cake, and you don't really see your flaws. So as long as there's players out there testing you and pushing you further it helps, not only me, it helps everybody. It helps everyone else on the Tour.

Q. Do you think that she's going to be one of the stars coming through?

A. From the first time I played her I thought she had a really incredible game. And plus, she has the height, and the leverage, and she moves well, and it seems to me like she thinks on the court also. So she has a lot of things working for her.

Q. What do you do with your forehand when it suddenly goes crazy?

A. I don't think my forehand goes crazy.

Q. Well, you had some strange shots?

A. Yeah. I'm not looking at the ball when I do that, you know. You have to see it before you hit it; and if you don't, you hope for the best and expect the worst. A lot of times you just, you know, you want that ball to be where you are going to put it. And you just take your eye off it and it just doesn't work, and I know that. But you just have to keep yourself calm. But, for me, I think a lot of the times my forehand is my best side. I've lost a lot of matches off my backhand, so as long as I'm serving well and moving well and just competing, that's what counts.

Q. What sort of match do you expect from Magdalena, Venus? Is it a similar match to what you had today?

A. Oh, for sure. I think I'll have to hit a lot of balls. I think that she's an older player. She plays more calculated tennis. She moves the ball around well, and she's really a formidable opponent. So I can't expect her to give me anything. I'll just have to go out there and take something for myself.

Q. Venus, have you ever talked to her about having her sister or sisters on the Tour?

A. No, not really, no. She's the last one standing. I guess she has done the best out of all three; correct? No?

Q. No. Do you think the two of you could take the three of them?

A. There's room for one more. I'll pull one of my other sisters in.
- - -
 

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Discussion Starter #18
No tine

I agree with Wongqks...I never said I know what would have happened...apparently you saw that the same way you saw a 100% healthy Venus.

My contention all along has been that all we do know is that:

1) Venus was not 100% it's impossible...ask your Dr.
2) Daniella played an awesome match!
3) This time Venus won!

Oop...
4) I have one more power player to pull for (when she's not playing Serena or Monica) who is soon to be top 20;)
 

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She was injured during her last match. So of course she was worried at the beginning of this match. Her mom and trainer took good care of her, she took good care of herself....so she was able to play today and she felt very good! (her own words!)

Venus is constantly saying that it Daniela played well, that she had to run for every ball, Venus is clearly saying that the fact that this match was so close had everything to do with Daniala's game.
 
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