Thursday, June 26, 2003

Errant serves can't sidetrack Venus


Wimbledon roundup

The Associated Press

[IMAGE] Fourth-seeded Venus Williams rallied from a 3-2 first-set disadvantage to defeat Katarina Srebotnik. Williams next faces Nadia Petrova.
(Associated Press photo)
| ZOOM |
WIMBLEDON, England - Venus Williams overcame a slow start and erratic serving to beat Katarina Srebotnik 6-4, 6-1 Wednesday at Wimbledon.

The two-time champion advanced to the third round, where she'll face French Open semifinalist Nadia Petrova. The Russian, seeded 29th, beat Angelique Widjaja 7-6 (3), 6-3.

Looming in the fourth round is a possible rematch with 18-year-old Vera Zvonareva, who beat Conchita Martinez-Granados 6-3, 6-1. Zvonareva, seeded 16th, upset Williams in the French Open's fourth round.

"I'm definitely feeling good about my game," Williams said. "I feel good about myself at all times."

Playing before a Centre Court crowd that included her sister, defending champion Serena Williams, Venus fell behind 3-2 and then started to find her range.

The No. 4-seeded Williams closed out the first set with an ace and slammed a forehand winner on match point. She missed more than half of her first serves, often badly, but never faced a break point.

Williams, who has reached the Wimbledon final the past three years, is seeking her fifth Grand Slam championship but her first since the 2001 U.S. Open.

"I'm not going to put any pressure on myself to win the title," she said.

Other women advancing included No. 2 Kim Clijsters, No. 5 Lindsay Davenport and No. 7 Chanda Rubin. Clijsters eliminated Virginie Razzano 6-1, 6-3. Davenport, the 1999 champion, beat Rita Grande 6-3, 6-1. Rubin defeated fellow American Amy Frazier 6-4, 6-4.

No. 9 Daniela Hantuchova squandered a fast start and lost to Shinobu Asagoe 0-6, 6-4, 12-10.

On the men's side, No. 4 Roger Federer won 17 of the final 19 games to beat Stefan Koubek 7-5, 6-1, 6-1. He'll next face unseeded Mardy Fish, who reached the third round for the first time by beating fellow American Jan-Michael Gambill 6-4, 6-4, 6-1.

"He's dangerous," Federer said of Fish. "He's got a good serve, returns well and is good all-around. I've got to watch out."

Fish, ranked a career-best 45th, reached the grass-court final at Nottingham last week, where he lost to Greg Rusedski.

Federer is the third choice of oddsmakers, behind Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi, even though he has a history of disappointing results in Grand Slam events.

"I don't look at myself like I'm already in the final," Federer said.

Todd Martin eliminated three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-4. Kuerten, who was seeded 17th, has advanced beyond the third round at Wimbledon only once in his career.

Ivo Karlovic, who upset top-seeded defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the opening round, beat Paul Baccanello 6-4, 7-6 (3), 5-7, 6-2. Karlovic, at 6-feet-10 the tallest player in Wimbledon history, next plays 6-5 Max Mirnyi.

Spanish left-hander Rafael Nadal, at 17 the youngest entrant in the men's draw, beat British wild-card Lee Childs 6-2, 6-4, 6-3. No. 9 Rainer Schuettler, the Australian Open runner-up, eliminated Fabrice Santoro 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. No. 12 Paradorn Srichaphan rallied past Olivier Mutis 4-6, 1-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5, 7-5 and No. 16 Mikhail Youzhny lost to Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-2.




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