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Fit Williams Fires Up For Hopman Cup Comeback

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Defending Australian Open champion Serena Williams has shaken off a knee injury in time to take her place in the Hyundai Hopman Cup at the Burswood Dome later this month.

Williams had to pull out of the season-ending tournament in Madrid early last month due to a recurrence of the knee complaint.

But the eight-times grand slam champion proved her fitness for the $1 million ITF Perth mixed teams international, starting in a fortnight, when she played at a charity event in the United States last weekend.

Williams played mixed doubles with Mardy Fish, who she will partner at Hopman Cup XX, and James Blake.

Blake and Williams are former winners in Perth, combining to beat Alicia Molik and Lleyton Hewitt in the final of Hopman Cup XV in 2002-03. It was the last time Williams played in the tournament.

Blake was again successful a year later when he combined with Lindsay Davenport to defeat Slovak Republic pair Daniela Hantuchova and Karol Kucera in the final.

Davenport replaced Williams at late notice that year when Williams was forced to pull out after knee surgery and the death of her half-sister.

Hopman Cup tournament director Paul McNamee was pleased to see Williams on track for an Australian summer campaign starting in Perth.

“Serena played well at the charity event, she’s happy and it was a really good hit-out for the Hopman Cup,” McNamee said.

“It’s just good to see her back out on the court because she hadn’t played since she had to pull out of the year end tournament in Madrid.”

McNamee said he was keeping close tabs on Williams.

“The year after she won it (Hopman Cup) she did have to withdraw,” he said. “It’s a matter I want to keep on top of because you want to keep faith with the public. Along with Jelena Jankovic on the women’s side, Serena is the biggest star.

“She is the reigning Australian Open champion and a former winner of the tournament.”

Williams will be protecting an unbeaten record when she plays at the Hopman Cup.

The 26-year-old has singles wins against Uzbekistan’s Iroda Tulyaganova, Belgium’s Kim Clijsters, Spain’s Virginia Ruano Pascual and Australia’s Molik, and won all her mixed doubles rubbers with Blake.

Field – Group A: Serbia (No. 1 seed) Jelena Jankovic (world No. 3) Novak Djokovic (3); France (4) Tatiana Golovin (13) Gael Monfils (38); Argentina (5) Gisela Dulko (38) Juan Ignacio Chela (20); Chinese Taipei (8) Su-Wei Hsieh (156) Yen-Hsun Lu (110). Group B: US (2) Serena Williams (7) Mardy Fish (39); Czech Republic (3) Lucie Safarova (23) Tomas Berdych (14); Australia (6) Alicia Molik (56) Peter Luczak (79); India (7) Sania Mirza (31) Rohan Bopanna (267).

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Source -- The West.au.com Russell Reid

Posted by Shelia

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