Mon, Aug 03, 2009 - Page 18 News List

In-form Venus crushes Dementieva

MERCILESS: The elder Williams sister was set to face Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in an attempt to win her first US outdoor hardcourt tournament since 2002


Haas hangs his head after losing a point to Querrey.


American Venus Williams crushed Russian Elena Dementieva 6-0, 6-1 in the semi-finals of the Bank of the West Classic on Saturday.

Williams will face Marion Bartoli in the final after the Frenchwoman battled to a 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 victory over Australia’s Samantha Stosur.

Second seed Williams nailed 20 winners and converted 16 of 18 approaches at the net to ensure she reached the Stanford final for the seventh time in eight appearances.

“I felt like everything went well for me today,” said the 29-year-old, who won the tournament in 2000 and 2002. “I was able to raise my level on important points.”

Seven-times grand slam champion Williams has not won a US outdoor hardcourt tournament since 2002, but third seed Dementieva said that if she continued to play as she had over the past two days, that streak would end shortly.

Williams had also demolished three-times grand slam champion Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-2 in the quarter-finals.

“I usually like to play long rallies but she was just too good from the baseline,” Dementieva told reporters. “She was powerful and very solid. I was always in trouble.”

Williams said she thought she was playing better now than she had done in 2002, when she won the Stanford, San Diego and New Haven titles before her sister Serena ended her 19-match unbeaten streak in the final of the US Open.

“I’d like to think I’m smarter, faster, stronger and better,” Venus said. “It still would be a tough match with the Venus of ‘02, but I’m betting on the Venus of ‘09.”

The eighth-seeded Bartoli put on a return of serve clinic against the powerful Stosur, punching back her first serves and laying waste to a number of her second serves.

The 14th-ranked Frenchwoman, who also reached the Stanford final last year, was also far more consistent from the baseline during the third set.

She ended the contest with 21 unforced errors to a whopping 37 from Stosur.

“She was unbeatable in the second set,” Bartoli said. “I was waiting for the opportunities to come in third set and once I broke her, I was a lot more comfortable and I was able to win a lot of tough points on defense.”



Qualifier Carsten Ball stretched his dream run at the LA Open all the way to yesterday’s final, where he was to face former junior rival Sam Querrey in a battle of big servers.

The Los Angeles-born Australian Ball will see his No .205 ranking rise to No. 120 should he buck the odds and claim an ATP title ran past Argentine Leonardo Mayer 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) in their semi-final.

Sixth seed Querrey reached his third final in as many events with an upset of two-time winner and top seed Tommy Haas 6-3, 7-5, with the Californian saving three break points in the final game.

Ball, who lives in nearby Newport Beach and has happily commuted up to four hours per day ever since qualifying rounds more than a week ago, had never played an ATP-level match prior to this week.

The 22-year-old son of 1974 Australian Open doubles finalist Syd Ball fired 10 aces in the 91-minute win over Mayer, also playing the first semi-final of his career.

Querrey’s “Samurai” cheer squad of shirtless former high school friends with painted chests got up the nose of Haas, who said that he didn’t feel that jeering his errors was called for.

“Those guys just showed they have no class, it’s up to Sam to take control of the situation if he wants to,” said the 31-year-old German, who stood 16-3 since May after winning the Halle title and plying a Wimbledon semi-final against Roger Federer. “This was not the fifth set of a US Open.”

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