Sun, Feb 22, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Williams sisters are best in world, Venus declares

NAY, LITTLE SISTER: After Venus Williams beat Serena in Dubai, she said it would have been better if the best players — themselves — could face off in the final

AFP , DUBAI

Venus Williams giggles during the semi-final match with her sister Serena in the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Friday.

PHOTO: EPA

Venus Williams said on Friday that she and sister Serena were the world’s best players on a women’s tour rocked by the long-term absence of injury-hit Maria Sharapova and last year’s retirement of Justine Henin.

The two Americans hold three of the four Grand Slams while Serena has the world’s top ranking and Venus is No. 6.

On Friday, Wimbledon champion Venus edged ahead 10-9 in the family tussle when she beat Serena, the Australian and US Open winner, 6-1, 2-6, 7-6 (7/3) to reach the final of the Dubai tournament.

The 28-year-old is hot favorite to beat Virginie Razzano, the surprise finalist from France, and claim a 40th career crown.

“Obviously she [Serena] is No. 1 but I think we are the best in the world,” Venus said. “There are other great players but it would have been better if the two best are in the final. I would definitely be more pleased if it were a final. But I guess I will have to keep working on my ranking.”

Since Henin’s retirement on the eve of the French Open in May last year, Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic have all occupied the world No. 1 ranking before Serena returned to the top after her fourth career Australian Open win.

Sharapova hasn’t played since injuring her shoulder in August last year.

■MORGAN KEEGAN

AFP, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Top-seeded Andy Roddick held on for a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over big-serving Sam Querrey to reach the semi-finals of the US$1.22 million ATP and WTA hardcourt tournament on Friday.

Roddick fired 11 aces, four fewer than his opponent, but took advantage of Querrey’s four double-faults as he booked a semi-final meeting with former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt of Australia.

Fifth-seeded Czech Radek Stepanek also reached the semi-finals, ousting second-seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, and will face Israeli qualifier Dudi Sela.

The women’s final was also set as top-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki and second-seeded Belarusian Victoria Azarenka advanced.

In the semis Roddick will face Hewitt, who downed Belgium’s Christophe Rochus 6-2, 6-3.

On the other side of the draw, Stepanek sent Argentina’s del Potro packing 7-6 (9/7), 6-4.

Stepanek next faces Sela, who defeated unseeded Russian Igor Kunitsyn 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

In the women’s final yesterday, Wozniacki was set to vie for the fourth title of her young career after a quick 6-1, 6-0 semi-final victory over fourth-seeded Briton Anne Keothavong.

Awaiting Wozniacki in the final is Azarenka, who outlasted sixth-seeded Sabine Lisicki of Germany, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/1), in the other semi-final.

■OPEN 13

AP, MARSEILLE, FRANCE

Novak Djokovic beat Mischa Zverev of Germany 6-3, 6-3 on Friday to land a semi-final with fourth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who won the Johannesburg title two weeks ago.

The other semi features Gilles Simon, the 2007 champion, against unseeded Michael Llodra.

Tsonga defeated eighth-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-2, 6-7 (1), 6-4, hitting 18 aces to 11 and breaking Lopez three times while not giving away a break chance.

Simon beat Julien Benneteau 6-2, 6-4 in an all-French quarter-final, nailing three of 10 break points without losing his own serve.

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