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WOMEN'S TENNIS

Venus Sweeps Past Kournikova; Raymond Upsets Seles

July 27, 2002|From Staff and Wire Reports

Top-seeded Venus Williams overcame a feisty performance by Anna Kournikova to win, 6-3, 6-4, Friday night and advance to the semifinals of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford along with Lindsay Davenport, Kim Clijsters and surprise winner Lisa Raymond.

Williams used her powerful serve, which reached 116 mph early in the match, to best Kournikova, who had two victories earlier in the week after a five-match losing streak.

Kournikova broke Williams' serve and took a lead in each set, but Williams rallied twice for her eighth consecutive victory over the Russian, who spiked several balls on the court in frustration and questioned several line calls. Kournikova was undone by a string of unforced errors in the first set, and she struggled against Williams' serve late in the second set.

Williams will next play Raymond, who upset No. 3 Monica Seles, 6-4, 6-2. Davenport, seeded No. 2, defeated No. 5 Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia, 6-2, 6-2, and Clijsters beat wild card Jelena Jankovic of Yugoslavia, 7-5, 6-3. Raymond, a doubles specialist, hit serves reaching 104 mph and rarely made errors.

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Justine Henin of Belgium has withdrawn from next week's Acura Classic at La Costa because of a broken left ring finger, which she injured in her first-round match against Marissa Irvin on Wednesday at Stanford. It was supposed to be the first appearance at La Costa for the seventh-ranked player in the world. The wild-card entrants at the event are Mary Pierce of France, Allison Bradshaw, Conchita Martinez of Spain and Ashley Harkleroad.

If form holds, top-seeded Venus Williams will play No. 5 Clijsters in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Davenport in the semifinals. In the other half of the draw are No. 2 Jennifer Capriati, No. 4 Seles and No. 7 Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia. Venus Williams is the defending champion. Martina Navratilova has accepted a spot in doubles field at Acura and will play with Elena Tartakova of Ukraine.

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