Venus on Course for U.S. Open Hat-Trick

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Twice defending champion Venus Williams rebounded from a hesitant fourth round performance by scoring an emphatic 6-2 6-3 victory over Monica Seles on Wednesday to ease into the semi-finals of U.S. Open.
The win keeps Venus on course for a showdown with sister Serena, as the season’s final last slam appears headed toward yet another all-Williams final.

“I feel it’s best for me to meet Serena in the final,” said Venus, who disposed of her sister in straight sets last year to retain her U.S. Open crown. “I want to see her do her best and I would like to see me do my best.”

Since the 2001 U.S. Open final, it is Serena’s best that has been better, defeating her older sister and both the French Open and Wimbledon finals this year.

Following a narrow three-set escape against Chanda Rubin a day earlier, a worried Williams immediately returned to the practice court with father and coach Richard.

The results were on full display for another large crowd at the Arthur Ashe stadium, including younger sister Serena, as a ruthless and relentless Williams broke Seles at the first opportunity and again to surge in front 4-1 to take control of the opening set.

In an awesome display of power, the statuesque Williams lost just one point on her serve, ripping through the first set in 25 minutes.

“I was able to get a lot of pace on first serve,” offered a subdued Williams, whose assault included five aces. “It’s really satisfying to know that I’ve been able to work hard to be able to get to this level where I can play this well against a player like Monica.”

In eight career meetings Williams had walked away the winner seven times but Seles confidence would have been boosted by her quarter-final victory earlier this year at the Australian Open.

Some of that confidence final began to emerge in the second set as Seles steadied herself; her two-handed groundstrokes began to find their mark.


But Seles, U.S. Open champion in 1991 and 1991, could not find a way to break the second seed.

Following a brief lull and level at 3-3, Williams again turned up the pressure on Seles sweeping the final three games to wrap up the contest in 57 minutes.

“I think the match tells it all, I think I had one break point,” said Seles. “She just served too well, I couldn’t read it all. It was just too strong.

“She is one of the toughest players for me to play.

“Each time I go into a match I know it’s tough because she has her weapons that make it difficult for me.

“You know, when someone is serving 115 mph, it’s tough to return no matter how well you’re playing.”

Williams will next meet 10th seeded Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo, who prevented the semi-finals from being an all-American affair with her upset win over Australian Open champion Jennifer Capriati.

The other semi-finals sees Wimbledon and French Open champion Serena Williams face Lindsay Davenport the last non-Williams to win at Flushing Meadows when she lifted the title in 1998.

“I’m ready already,” said Williams, who is perfect 4-0 against the muscular Frenchwoman. “We’ve had some great matches.

“I’ve played her twice this year, I played her in Paris and it was real close and I played her in Antwerp, the first set was close.

“I just don’t like to lose that often. I’ve been able to play just a little bit better. I guess that’s it.”