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Venus to face Aussie Open semifinalist Zuluaga in Warsaw
April 26, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports
WARSAW, Poland -- Venus Williams is back at the J&S Cup, where she picked up an injury that hampered her much of 2003.

http://ad.doubleclick.net/click;h=v2|30f9|0|0|%2a|n;7802504;0-0;0;8049059;4307-300|250;4975708|4993604|1;u=QIbdWgooBKQAAFwaVBY;%3fhttp://205.134.167.33/cgi-bin/wrapper/daily/wrapper.cgi?site=megasports It was in Warsaw last year that Williams strained a stomach muscle and had to quit in the final against Amelie Mauresmo. Unwilling to miss the French Open or Wimbledon, Williams played through the pain.

But after losing to sister Serena in the Wimbledon final in July, she was sidelined for the rest of the season.

"The toughest part was accepting that I had to stay out. I'm not the kind of person who accepts a circumstance," Williams said Monday. "I like to make something happen for myself, and this was a case where I could not do more, no matter what I tried."

She received a first-round bye at the clay-court tuneup for Roland Garros. In the second round, Williams will face Australian Open semifinalist Fabiola Zuluaga, who beat Anabel Medina Garrigues 7-6 (12-10), 6-4 in Monday's only match.

Zuluaga fought off three set points in the tiebreaker.

"You don't expect any easy matches, but this was a tough one," Zuluaga said. "She was returning really good and stepping into the court, so I tried to put more first serves in and that worked. I knew I would have to fight a lot and suffer a little, too."

Now she is looking forward to facing Williams, who has won seven straight matches, including her first title in 14 months.

"I have nothing to lose," Zuluaga said. "I'll be relaxed and just go out there and try to do my best."


AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service
 

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&S Cup, Warsaw, Poland: Venus Williams is interviewed by a group of Polish journalists during the All-Access Hour on Monday
 

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Venus Williams advances to quarterfinals of Warsaw tennis
April 28, 2004

WARSAW, Poland (Ticker) - After a slow start, Venus Williams moved into the quarterfinals of the $585,000 J&S Cup.

A finalist here last year, Williams worked her way past Fabiola Zuluaga of Colombia, 6-4, 6-2, 6-0, on Wednesday.

Williams claimed her first title of the year two weeks ago at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina. She won both of her singles matches in the Fed Cup over the weekend, leading the United States to a 4-1 victory at Slovenia.

Last year, Williams was forced to retire in the third set of the final here against Amelie Mauresmo of France after suffering an abdominal injury that dogged her the entire season.

Also advancing to the quarterfinals Wednesday was eighth seed Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi of Israel, who topped Daniela Hantuchova, 6-4, 7-5. Three other seeded players won first-round matches on Wednesday. No. 6 Silvia Farina Elia of Italy topped Denisa Chladkova of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-1; No. 7 Patty Schnyder of Switzerland took care of Elena Tatarkova of the Ukraine, 6-3, 6-4; and No. 9 Francesca Schiavone of Italy topped Tina Pisnik of Slovakia, 6-3, 6-0. The top seed is Mauresmo, who has not won a title since her triumph here last year.
 

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April 28, 2004



© Getty Images

Venus Avoids Opening Round Upset in Warsaw

WARSAW, Poland - No.2 seed Venus Williams avoided an opening round upset on Wednesday at the J&S Cup in Warsaw, marching back from a one set deficit to defeat fierce clay courter Fabiola Zuluaga, 46 62 60. Williams, the runner-up in Warsaw last year, has now won eight straight matches on clay - including her win at Charleston and two Fed Cup victories over the weekend. "I feel good about my match today," Williams said. "Fabiola is a strong player and she started playing really well. She was really returning my serves well. I expected the match to really be challenging and expected myself to play better but it was good that I hit so many balls today and eventually won the match.

"After losing the first set, I just said to myself that I had to move on and concentrate on the next two sets and it worked out really great."

No.8 seed Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi joined Williams in the quarterfinals after her 64 75 victory against Daniela Hantuchova.

In first round action, Patty Schnyder maintained the good form which saw her reach the Charleston semifinals a fortnight ago. The Swiss No.7 seed defeated Ukrainian qualifier Elena Tatarkova 63 64, setting up a second round clash with Magdalena Maleeva, a 63 61 winner over Elena Likhovtseva.

No.6 seed Silvia Farina Elia, along with countrywoman and No.9 seed Francesca Schiavone also moved into the second round. Farina Elia dropped just five games in a 64 61 win against Czech Republic's Denisa Chladkova, while Schiavone yielded just three in a 63 60 victory against Tina Pisnik.

In other first round action, Greece's Eleni Daniilidou setup a second round meeting with top seed and defending champion Amelie Mauresmo with her 62 62 win over Argentina's Gisela Dulko, while lucky loser Lenka Nemeckova of the Czech Republic will next face No.3 Vera Zvonareva after her 63 62 victory against qualifier Henrieta Nagyova.
 

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Venus Williams returns a shot to Colombia's Fabiola Zuluaga during a second round match at the WTA J&S Cup in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday April 28, 2004
 

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Mauresmo Out of Warsaw Cup, Venus in Semis
Fri Apr 30, 2004 02:49 PM ET
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WARSAW (Reuters) - French world number three and top-seed Amelie Mauresmo was ousted in the quarter-finals of the $585,000 Warsaw Cup Friday, losing to fast-improving Francesca Schiavone 3-6, 7-6, 6-1.

The young Italian now faces Russian world number 14 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first semi-final Saturday.

The other semi pitches second-seed Venus Williams against another Russian -- third-seeded world number 11 Vera Zvonareva -- after both won in straight sets later Friday.

Holder Mauresmo lost a tie-break (7-2) for the second set, before succumbing to an impressive display of serving from Schiavone.

Schiavone told a news conference: "Today taught me that every top player is just a player. For me every ball was a match ball. Mauresmo is on a good level, but today I was the best."

Mauresmo said: "I felt sure I would win after the first set but by the third set it was her dictating the conditions.

"I know that I have to train harder to get back to my best. In the end one lost game is not a big deal."

U.S. world number 13, Williams withdrew injured from last year's final against Mauresmo but looked in good form Friday, demolishing Bulgaria's Magdalena Maleeva 6-1, 6-0. Zvonareva won her quarter-final against Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi 6-3, 7-5. Zvonareva's Russian compatriot Kuznetsova beat Italy's Silvia Farina Elia 6-1, 6-4.
 

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Venus Williams of the United States returns a ball to Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria during the Warsaw Cup, April 30, 2004. Williams won the match in two straight sets, 6-1 6-0
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)


Venus Williams of the United States returns a ball to Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria during Warsaw Cup April 30, 2004. Williams won the match in two
straight sets 6-1 6-0




Venus Williams of U.S. serves to Bulgaria's Magdalena Maleeva during the quarterfinals of the J&S Cup in Warsaw, Poland, Friday April 30, 2004
 

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Venus Cruises Into Warsaw Final
Sat May 1, 2004 11:54 AM ET
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WARSAW (Reuters) - Venus Williams crushed Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday to reach the final of the $585,000 Warsaw Cup WTA tournament.



The American number two seed, whose world ranking plunged to 16th last season because of injuries, won six straight games to take the first set. "I think this has been my best match (this week), where I've been able to move my best," Williams told Reuters.

"I've had so many frustrations, injuries and breaks, and it proved that hard work and a little hope are worth it.

"In the rallies I always felt I was in control, even when I was on the defense. I was definitely able to attack her serve."

In Sunday's final, Williams faces Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova, the number four seed, who beat Italy's Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-2. Schiavone had knocked out number one seed and defending champion Amelie Mauresmo of France.
 

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Venus Williams hits a return to Vera Zvonareva of Russia during semi-finals of the Warsaw Cup May 1, 2004. Williams won in two straight
 

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V. Williams Crushes Kuznetsova to Win Warsaw Cup
Sun May 2, 2004 01:38 PM ET
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By Rob Strybel WARSAW (Reuters) - Former world number one Venus Williams cruised past Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-1, 6-4, to win the Warsaw Cup Sunday, her second straight WTA tour title on the way back from a spate of injuries.



Williams, runner-up in Warsaw last year, has claimed 14 successive victories, her longest winning streak since one of 19 matches in 2002.

The second-seeded American made short work of Kuznetsova, seeded fourth, wrapping up victory in less than an hour with a powerful display of ground-strokes and quick footwork.

"This was a great tournament and very important at this stage in my career," a beaming Williams told a news conference.

"This week has been monumental....My peak form of 2001 was when I won at Wimbledon. I'm still not there."

With a long-running abdominal injuries apparently behind her, Williams was especially pleased with the victory after losing to Kuznetsova in Dubai this year.

"I think I've been able to get back to my movement," Williams said. "I feel I can get to every ball and that puts pressure on my opponent. It's great fun, I like that feeling."

Williams said her return to the tennis world's elite had tested her mental strength, which first showed signs of strain when she was beaten by her sister Serena in four straight Grand Slam titles in 2002 and 2003.

"I feel normal now," she said. "Before it was very abnormal for me. My mental state was most important. It's been a whole journey for me. I'm just taking things day by day, match after match."

Kuznetsova, ranked 14th in the world, said she had been far from her best.

"I lost the match on errors," she said. "I have to learn to believe in myself more." The 18-year-old from St Petersburg made 16 unforced errors, twice as many as Williams.
 

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Venus Williams of the United States returns a ball to Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia during their Warsaw Cup final match, May 2, 2004. Williams beat Kuznetsova with 6-1 6-4.
 

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Venus Williams of the United States waves to the audience after winning against Swietlana Kuznetsova of Russia during the Warsaw cup, May 2, 2004. Williams beat Kuznetsova with 6-1 6-4
 

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Venus Williams of the United States returns a ball to Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia during the Warsaw cup final match, May 2, 2004. Willimas beat Kuznetsova, 6-1 6-4
 

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Venus Williams of the United States raises the Warsaw Cup trophy, after winning match against Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova in the Warsaw cup final match, May 2, 2004. Willimas beat Kuznetsova, 6-1 6-4
 
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