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Serena Wins Opener At Bank Of The West Classic

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's Bank Of The West ClassicWhile Big sister Venus was all glammed up and attending the ESPY Awards last night, American Serena Williams was busy toiling away at the Bank Of The West Classic at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California last night.

Top seed Williams played the feature night match and picked up right where she left off during her run to the final of Wimbledon, beating qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. The 15-year-old Larcher de Brito came out on fire, hitting her big ground strokes to perfection in building a 6-4 2-0 lead; the more experienced Williams was far from finished in her career debut at the Bank of the West Classic, however, rallying to win in three sets under the lights.Black Tennis Pro's Bank Of The West Classic

"I never underestimate anyone, especially when they play me, because they'll always bring out their best game," Williams said. "In a way it was surprising, but you've just got to deal with it. I had a plan and I started playing better, and it's encouraging for me to bounce back after losing the first set."

"I started off really well; I slowed down a little bit, but overall I was playing well the whole match," Larcher de Brito said. "Obviously she played such a great game. She's Serena Williams. I didn't have anything to lose and I gave it my all.

"I was getting close to an upset, but now I have a lot of things to work on, and a lot of years ahead of me."

Black Tennis Pro's Bank Of The West ClassicAlthough Serena Williams is playing the Bank of the West Classic for the first time, the Williams brand has done very well at the Tier II stop in the past. Venus made the final in six of seven trips to Stanford, winning the title twice, in 2000 (beating Lindsay Davenport in the final) and 2002 (beating Kim Clijsters).

"I've never been able to make it here," Williams added. "I'm happy that I'm here. There's a nice atmosphere and it feels good to play in Stanford."

Photos Getty Images

Posted by Shelia

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