Wed, Aug 31, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Serena beats `bling' trouble to defeat Taiwanese teen

DPA , NEW YORK

Chan Yung-jan of Taiwan serves to Serena Williams during the US Open at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, on Monday.

PHOTO: AFP

Serena Williams dropped her diamonds on the way to an opening round win on Monday at the US Open, but the two-time champion made no apologies about the pair of US$40,000 earrings that just wouldn't stay on.

The "bling malfunction" occurred during the first set of a 6-1, 6-3 defeat of 16-year-old Chan Yung-jan (詹詠然) of Taiwan.

Williams had to scramble after just three minutes on court when one of the earrings detached, spreading a few diamonds around on the blue cement.

After copping boos from the crowd during her post-match interview when she confirmed the value of her pair of little baubles, it later didn't take the tennis millionairess long to list some of her other shiny trinkets.

"I wore five-karat diamond earring studs at Wimbledon. That was pretty hot," said the eighth seed, who started slow in the second set against a teenager whose entire career earnings would barely purchase one of Serena's ear ornaments.

"These [today] are more chandeliery, in style. You've gotta have the bling," said the self-styled Renaissance woman.

Williams admitted: It was her fault, due to a rush to get onto court in time to start.

"I should have put it on better. I was rushing and I forgot about them. I forgot to put them on because I was stretching and stuff. I was like, `Oh, my earrings.' I'll just put them on earlier, it will be better."

Williams vowed that she will take her time in accessorizing for her next contest.

But with her eye on now buying a 33-karat black diamond ring she wore on loan last week, the former world number 1 might be aiming to win as many rounds as possible at an event where the champion earns US$1.1 million.

"I had to give it [the ring] up. But I think I'm going to get it. I was so in love with it," she said.

For Williams, splashing out on fashion is all a part of working the in-your-face US Open ambience to her advantage.

"For me, this is the biggest stage. I love playing in New York. I love the US Open. I love the court, I love everything about it. Except sometimes the line calls ... It's a great place to be at," she said.

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