Venus Stays Perfect in Doha
DOHA, Qatar For the second day in a row Venus Williams was pushed by a Russian opponent, and once again she came up with the goods. With her grafting 64 46 63 win over fifth seed Elena Dementieva, the player she defeated in the semis at Wimbledon, the American No.7 seed is now 2-0 in round robin play at this year's Sony Ericsson Championships.>
Against Dinara Safina on Tuesday Venus was 2-5 down before winning in straight sets; against Dementieva today she was 0-2 down in the final set before finding her way to victory. This, despite serving 10 double faults across the two hour 21 minute encounter, including two in a row on three occasions.
In reality, both players had difficulty settling, with Venus the only one to hold serve in the first set - a feat managed just once, but it was nonetheless enough to take the opener.
Dementieva was first to draw blood in the second set, but after the Russian went 2-0 the pair traded three-game winning streaks. Dementieva's run came closer to the end of the set, and the momentum was enough for her to level the match.
As the contest wore on the combatants found their respective grooves, but once again the serve would play a decisive role: Dementieva double-faulted to give Venus a break for 5-3 in the final set.
"I was not satisfied with the way I was playing today," said Dementieva in the wake of the loss. "I think I was a little bit too nervous playing my first match here at the Championships. It's very tough to play your first match against such a big champion. I think she played really well yesterday, and she was in good shape today. I feel I had so many chances, and couldn't make it."
Next up for Venus is her sister Serena, the No.3 seed, who was next on court to play Safina in a match that finished around midnight. The Williams siblings have split wins on major stages this year - Venus won in the final at Wimbledon; Serena in the quarters at Flushing Meadows - and although Venus might not exactly relish the prospect, she is clearly keen to do well at the season finale after an absence of six years from the event.
"I like winning matches, and this is my first Championship in forever, so, obviously, I do want to do well," the elder Williams said. "I've gotten so much more relaxed than what I even was before and it's definitely one match at a time. This is my first time ever playing in a round robin, so it is a new experience, but of course I have a ton of experience with playing big matches and that kind of thing. So I enjoy it."