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Venus Williams Beats Maria Sharapova to Win Hong Kong Exhibition

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Venus Williams beat Russia's Maria Sharapova in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 Saturday to win the JB Group Classic exhibition in Hong Kong, a warmup for the upcoming Australian Open.

Both players holding serve comfortably in the early games, but the Russian faltered first. Serving at 4-5 in the first set, Sharapova sent a backhand into the net after a long rally and then missed another backhand to give the American a one-set lead.

World No. 5 Sharapova, a past winner at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, was erratic in the second set.

Down 2-3, she double faulted and missed a forehand to give the reigning Wimbledon champ the crucial break.

Sharapova did save two match points in her final service game, but Williams held to love to take the match, closing out the game with a forehand winner.

World No. 8 Williams, a six-time Grand Slam winner, complained Friday of an unspecified injury but appeared unaffected Saturday.

The eight-woman field at the JB Group Classic also featured Serbia's Ana Ivanovic, Russia's Elena Dementieva, China's Peng Shuai, Russia's Anna Chakvetadze, Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova and Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki.

Source - International Herald Tribune

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