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Venus Williams Puts The Smack Down on China's Peng Shuai

Thursday, January 3, 2008

American Venus Williams crushed her Chinese opponent Peng Shuai in straight sets here Thursday, showing she is in prime form ahead of the Australian Open.

Despite not having played a competitive game since October, the American world number eight was able to outmanoeuvre Peng at every turn in her opening game at the JB Group Classic tournament, triumphing 6-1, 6-2.

Peng, ranked 45 in the world, was unable to match Williams' athleticism and power with any consistency, crumbling to a 64-minute defeat.

Williams said she was delighted with her performance, despite the self-imposed long lay-off, during which time she graduated from design college.

"I haven't been out there in a long time, and I had to fight for every point," she told reporters after the match.

"But I felt like all the things I have practised really paid off," she added.

The fifth and sixth games of the match proved crucial, as the six-time Grand Slam singles champion started to crank up her powerful serve and lethal backhand.

Peng was up 40-15 in the fifth on her own serve, but was unable to make the lead pay as Williams, 27, ran her round the court with some line-hugging backhands, forcing an error on the last point to take a 4-1 lead.

In the next game, Peng fought back from a 40-0 deficit to take it to deuce, but Williams was able to up her game again, piling pressure on the Chinese 21-year-old and forcing her to push a backhand long.

Venus will now face either Elena Dementieva, after the Russian outfought Serbian Ana Ivanovic in the closest game of the tournament so far.

Source - Turkish Press

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