Sun, Apr 08, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Stosur thwarts Williams matchup


The US’ Serena Williams consoles Sabine Lisicki of Germany after she withdrew during the quarter-finals of the Family Circle Cup on Friday in Charleston, South Carolina.

Photo: Reuters

Reigning US Open champion Sam Stosur prevented another matchup in the Williams sisters’ sibling rivalry by beating Venus Williams in three sets on Friday at the Family Circle Cup.

The second-seeded Stosur won five of the last six games of the match for a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory in the quarter-finals on a chilly, windy Friday at the season’s first clay-court event. Stosur had a chance to knock out both Williams sisters on consecutive days when she met Serena in yesterday’s semi-finals.

While Stosur had never beaten Venus before, she has had success against Serena. Stosur beat her to win the US Open title in September last year and won their only match on clay at the 2010 French Open quarters.

“For sure, clay’s not my favorite surface,” said Stosur, the 2010 Family Circle champion. “It’s always tough playing Serena, no matter where.”

Serena advanced when opponent Sabine Lisicki twisted her left ankle early in the opening set and had to withdraw after five games.

The other semi-final will be between Lucie Safarova and Polona Hercog.

The ninth-seeded Czech Safarova beat No. 4 Vera Zvonareva of Russia 6-3, 6-3, while No. 14 Hercog of Slovenia breezed past 13th-ranked Russian Nadia Petrova 6-1, 6-2.

The buzz for a Williams sisters showdown had grown all week as the two moved through the draw. Both came into Friday without losing a set and appeared ready to settle some family business at the Family Circle Tennis Center.

This was Venus’ first clay-court tournament since 2010 and her second event since a bout of autoimmune disease Sjogren’s Syndrome kept her out of the game since last summer’s US Open. Venus won four times last week at the Sony Ericsson Open and had carried that success forward into the Family Circle quarter-finals.

She could not get past Stosur, though, and won’t play again until next month in Madrid.

“I have come so far, so far from the US Open,” she said.

Stosur shook off some tired legs from an earlier match — the Australian was forced to come back on Friday morning and finish her rain-delayed match from the night before — and some wayward serves midway through to move past Venus.

Stosur is seeking her second Family Circle Cup title in three years.

Early on, it looked as if Serena might have had a fight on her hands as Lisicki stood toe-to-toe with the 13-time Grand Slam winner.

However, as Lisicki moved to her left after a shot, she apparently hurt her left ankle and fell to the court. She immediately got up and called for the trainer, who re-taped her ankle so the 22-year-old German could continue.

It was obvious Lisicki couldn’t move as she had. She played three more games before retiring in tears.

Serena came over to console Lisicki, hugging her near the net and applauding along with the crowd as she left stadium court.

Lisicki was scheduled to have an MRI.

Serena has had her share of injuries that have forced her to miss major tournaments. She told the young German that she had time to heal and would be back.

“I said, ‘It’s OK. It’s not the French Open. You’ve got time to get better,’” she said.

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