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Wimbledon Day 2: Round 1 Continues - Includes Blake vs. Baghdatis

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

(L-R) Stephanie Foretz Gacon, France, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France, Serena Williams, USA, James Blake, USA, and Heather Watson, GBR


Serena Williams, USA (7) vs. Aravane Rezai, FRA

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, FRA (12)  vs. Go Soeda, JPN

James Blake, USA vs. Marcos Baghdatis, CYP (32)

Heather Watson, GBR vs. Mathilde Johansson, FRA

Stephanie Foretz Gacon, FRA vs. Andrea Petkovic, GER (11)

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Venus Rocks New Eleven Design For Wimbledon, She Also Advances To Round 2

Venus working one of her Eleven designs on Day 1 of 2011 Wimbledon Championships

Venus Williams may have only played two tournaments this year but she was quickly into her stride in her bid for a sixth Wimbledon title, producing astonishing tennis to see off Akgul Amanmuradova 6-3, 6-1.

Williams, who turned 31 on Friday, took exactly an hour to sweep aside the unseeded Uzbek, who simply had no answer for the American's powerful baseline game. Apart from Eastbourne last week, Williams had not played a tournament since the Australian Open at the start of the year. There she was forced to retire in the third round with a right hip injury against Andrea Petkovic.

The lack of action had led her to tumble down the rankings and arrive at Wimbledon as the 23rd seed, an unusual position for one of the two sisters who have dominated the Championships over the past decade and more.

But despite that less than perfect preparation, Williams remains among the favourites for the ladies' singles crown and, as she opened the tournament on No.2 Court, it was clear to see the American was enjoying every moment of being back in the Wimbledon limelight. Her opening service game to love was perhaps an early indicator of the way the match would pan out and she could not help but smile as she quickly found her feet on the lawn she loves so much.

As usual there was equal interest in what one of the sport's enduring superstars was wearing and Venus - always with one eye on entertaining the fashionistas in the Wimbledon crowd - did not disappoint, with a rather unique, chic chiffon playsuit.

The outfit's delicate appearance was the polar opposite of her game as she employed her trademark aggressive play, drilling winners down the line and cross court. Serves were hammered down at 117mph. There was certainly no sign of the abdominal injury that forced Williams sister to miss 2011 Roland Garros - the first major she had been absent from since the 2007 Australian Open.

Williams reached the quarter-finals of Eastbourne last week, where she lost to Daniela Hantuchova and that timely run of grass court matches had clearly helped her on her way to the sparkling tennis she can so readily produce once she strides on to the lawns of the All England Club.

Williams brushed aside her opponent - ranked 97 in the world - with ease and the spectacular serving she employed at the start of the set continued throughout the match. By the ninth game, two aces and another 117mph serve helped her pocket the first set in 35 minutes.

This form continued in the second and while her opponent had been working hard to stay in the rallies early on, her game slowly began to fall apart. Williams made only five unforced errors throughout the entire match, hit 23 winners and fired down seven aces.

But is it possible for a competitor to win the tournament despite deing seeded as low as 23rd? Williams should know: she arrived at the 2007 Championships with the same seeding after another injury-affected year and finished as the champion. For some true competitors, it's not where you start that matters, it's where you finish.

© AELTC/ S.Wake

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2011 WIMBLEDON/RANGE ROVER PRE-PARTY: The Ladies Of The WTA Hit The Purple Carpet In Style

Thursday, June 16, 2011

American Serena Williams
American Serena Williams
Britain's Heather Watson
Italy's Francesca Schiavone
Serbia's Ana Ivanovic
Serbia's Jelena Jankovic
Germany's Andrea Petkovic
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki
Britain's (r)Anne Keothavong and (l)Laura Robson
Russia's Maria Sharapova
American Bethanie Mattek-Sands
India's Sania Mirza
 Romania's Sorana Cirstea
Germany's Sabine Lisicki
France's Alize Cornet

Photos by Wireimage

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Venus Not Able To Handle Hantuchova

American Venus Williams agonizes as match against Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova slips away

EASTBOURNE, England - Venus Williams' WTA comeback came to an end on a windy Thursday afternoon in Eastbourne, as she was outrallied by Daniela Hantuchova in the quarterfinals of the AEGON International, 62 57 62.

Williams, who had missed four and a half months of action due to hip and abdominal injuries, came back strong, beating No.11-ranked Andrea Petkovic in her first match back and No.18-ranked Ana Ivanovic in her second. But the No.25-ranked Hantuchova was in too much of a groove, winning 12 of her last 15 matches. Just a day before, she upset French Open champion Li Na, too.

"Obviously this is a great win and it's nice to be able to continue my good form from Paris and Birmingham," Hantuchova commented after the match.

More impressive: Hantuchova beat Williams for the first time in 11 tries.

"I was not thinking about our other matches at all. I was just focusing on my game today," she added. "I had a good win yesterday and I wanted to build on that. But I still feel there is a lot of room to improve. I'm not where I want to be yet, but I feel like I'm on the right way, which is pretty exciting for me."

"The wind didn't make it very predictable, but I give her credit for hanging in there. On a day like today, you have to just hang in there," Williams said. "I think Daniela had a lot of motivation - we've been playing I don't know how many years, and I am sure she has wanted a win against me for a long, long time."

Williams showed some flashes of the fighting spirit that has taken her to seven Grand Slam titles and the No.1 ranking, one minute facing a point for a 62 52 deficit and the next minute tucking the second set away. But the final chapter of the match was all Hantuchova - from 2-all in the third, she won 16 of 21 points.

"It wasn't the best luck today, but I feel good about my preparation," Williams said. "More than anything I was able to get a lot of great competition. This has been ideal. I would have liked to win here, but there are positives here too."

Hantuchova commented on the return of both Williams sisters to the WTA: "It's nice to see them back. I think they're great for the game. I was really looking forward to the match today and really pleased I was able to make it through."

Photos by Getty Images

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Venus Gets A "Gimme" In Win Over Ana Ivanovic

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

American Venus Williams celebrates win over Belgium'sAna Ivanovic

Ana Ivanovic
Venus Williams, who beat No.8 seed Andrea Petkovic on Monday in her first match in four and a half months, was the first of the two to take Centre Court, and took just 62 minutes for a 63 62 win over Ana Ivanovic. The 30-year-old, who turns 31 on Friday, is now 7-1 lifetime against Ivanovic.

"I was happy to have those clean service games and not a lot of errors," Williams said. "I thought she played really well. When she had a chance to strike the ball she hit the corners. I felt good to be able to get on top of her today. I feel I'm playing well on the big points - these matches have been crucial for me to get back, literally in the swing of things."

Williams was asked about Eastbourne - this is her first trip there since 1998. "When the Sun shines, it's gorgeous. I don't remember too much from back in the days. I remember it rained a lot here, so we were forced to stay in. We didn't really get to do anything, just kind of waiting to practice or play a match. This year I've had the opportunity to go out a little bit more. I quite like it, actually. I took a walk around town a little bit. I had a couple karaoke spots but didn't get a chance to go."

Photos by Getty Images
Source - WTA

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Venus: "It Was A Tough Match For Her, Because I'm Kind Of A Floater Right Now"

American Venus Williams appears to be contemplating her next move in her first match at the AEGON International Eastbourne, Great Britain

EASTBOURNE, England — Venus Williams took delayed revenge for a match she had to abandon nearly five months ago by beating eighth seed Andrea Petkovic 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 at Eastbourne on Monday.

The unseeded Williams carries a number 32 world ranking after last competing on January 21 in the Australian Open third round, when she had to quit after one game against the German due to an abdominal injury.

Along with her sister Serena -- out for the past year following her 2010 Wimbledon title due to a cut foot and blood clot issues in her lungs -- Venus is making a low-key warm-up for Wimbledon, which starts in a week.

"It was definitely an adventure today: the conditions, falling down every other point," said Williams.

"(It was great) just coming back from such a long layoff, competing against someone who has been playing so well in the last 12 months.

"There was definitely a lot going on out there, but I was extremely excited to come back with a win."

Petkovic went a break up in the first set but could not hold it as the experience of Williams, who turns 31 on Friday, paid dividends.

The world number 11 German salvaged the second set to level the match after clawing back a break from Williams, only for the American to raise her game in the third set to secure a comeback victory in two hours and 35 minutes.

"It was very interesting when I drew her," said Williams, who last played Eastborne 13 years ago. "It was a tough match for her, because I'm kind of a floater right now.

"Normally she would probably get through the first round. That was a little bit of bad luck for her, but for me it was a great opportunity.

"It felt fitting in a way, very ironic - but a great way to start it all off."

Williams next plays the winner of the match between German Julia Goerges and former world number one Ana Ivanovic of Serbia at an event featuring seven of the WTA top 10.

Photos by Getty Images
Source AFP

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Venus Williams Withdraws From 2011 Sony Ericsson Open

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Venus Williams at the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open Players Welcome Party at the Paris Nightclub Key Biscayne, Florida.
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

MIAMI, FL, USA - Venus Williams has withdrawn from the Sony Ericsson Open, where she is a three-time champion, due to an abdominal injury.

Williams, who has a phenomenal 47-9 record at the Premier-level stop, which includes title runs in 1998, 1999 and 2001 and one more final (last year, falling to Kim Clijsters), is currently receiving ongoing rehabilitation at home.

"I am very sorry to not be playing in the Sony Ericsson Open this year. It is one of my favorite tournaments, especially because it is so close to my home in South Florida," Williams said. "I look forward to returning to the tour soon."

"It is unfortunate that Venus Williams will be unable to play at this year's," Tournament Director Adam Barrett added. "She will be missed and we wish her a speedy recovery. We hope to see her back on court soon."

Williams has only played two events since Wimbledon last year, making the semifinals of the US Open (losing to eventual champion Clijsters in a tight three-setter) and reaching the third round of this year's Australian Open (where she retired against Andrea Petkovic after one game in the third round).

Photo by WireImage

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AO Day 5: Even The Great Ones Have Their Limits - Injured Venus Withdraws

Friday, January 21, 2011

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams Withdraws AO Day 5American Venus Williams just prior to withdrawal from Australian Open 2011
(Photos by Getty Images/AFP Photo/Williams West)

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams Withdraws AO Day 5Venus Williams, the No.4 seed, was forced to retire from her first-ever Grand Slam singles match, calling time on her third round encounter against Andrea Petkovic after just six minutes.

Williams, who injured her pelvic muscle during her gruelling three-set match against Sandra Zahlavova, began serving in the second night match on Rod Laver Arena, but was soon broken by a determined-looking Petkovic, winning just one point. And, having stretched and failed for a Petkovic passing shot, the multi-Grand Slam champion hobbled to her chair after the seventh point. Head in her hands, and consulting the trainer, she made the decision to retire from a Grand Slam singles match for the first time since 1994.

"I just obviously couldn't play. I mean, just couldn't move. Just too painful," said Williams. "The last 48 hours I did as much pain management and recovery that I could. I just hit some balls at 6:00 just kind of standing still. Just kind of warming up standing still and trying to give my best for the match.

You know, a lot times when you play, too, you get this adrenaline that blocks pain. But I just didn't get enough of that today".
"It's super disappointing because this is just not how I envisioned my Australian Open being. I've never had to retire from a Grand Slam especially after working so hard to pull out the match the other day. Just hoping for some magic that I could recover. I just wanted to give 100%. I mean when I think of myself and my career I don't make any excuses ever to myself or anyone. For me, it was just important to give 100%. I think I learn from experiences like this. If I'm not ready to play or if I'm still hurting maybe it's better to stop. That's just learning from life. I've learned now more or less what my limits are. Just learn from that the next time."

"When I come back to play next time, I'll be a 100%. So I won't be back until whenever that is. Hopefully, who knows, maybe it'll be for Fed Cup."

"I'm still pretty good, even when I'm injured. I mean, at the Open I came pretty close to winning that tournament just on a hope and a prayer and little to no preparation. Here, you know I was grinding. So I'm just going to focus obviously on getting healthy and coming back. Because I love tennis and I've got a lot of great tennis in me. I love my job, so no end in sight."

German Petkovic advances to meet Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams Withdraws AO Day 5Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams Withdraws AO Day 5Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams Withdraws AO Day 5
Source: australianopen.com
Photos: Getty Images

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