Venus Spoils Dinara's Debut
DOHA, Qatar - Venus Williams pulled off an impressive come-from-behind win over Dinara Safina, joining Vera Zvonareva and Jelena Jankovic as a Day 1 winner at the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2008.
Williams, the No.7 seed at the season-ending tournament, was seemingly out of the running in the first set, getting broken early and facing double set point serving at 2-5, 15-40. But the serve held up against the No.2-seeded Safina's baseline onslaught and Williams reeled off five games to take the set and eventually the match, 75 63.
"When I was down 5-2 I thought, 'If I lose this set, it's got to be at least 6-4,'" Williams said. "Itook it from there that I don't give any set away easily. I took the attitude of trying to get some more balls in play but still be aggressive. I just started playing better tennis - playing the ball and enjoying myself. There were some tough games, but they kept going my way. I was very excited about that."
"This is my first time playing a round robin," Williams added. "I'm definitely taking it one match at a time. I have a ton of experience playing big matches though, so I'm really looking forward to the rest of my round robin matches."
Safina has qualified for the Championships for the first time in her career. At No.2 in the world, she is the highest-ranked player ever to make their Championships debut; before this year, three players debuted at the event ranked No.3, namely Steffi Graf (1986), Venus Williams (1998) and Jelena Jankovic (last year).
Williams and Safina took the court in the first round robin match of the Maroon Group. The first contests of the White Group were played earlier in the evening, with No.1 seed Jankovic beating No.4 seed Ana Ivanovic, 63 64, and No.8 seed Vera Zvonareva defeating No.6 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, 62 63.
Round robin action continues on Wednesday. In White Group play Ivanovic faces Zvonareva; in Maroon Group play, Venus Williams will face No.5-seeded Elena Dementieva while No.3 seed Serena Williams takes on Safina.