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TENNIS

Drama follows Serena Williams

The tennis star asserts that her opponent, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain, cheated in their three-set French Open match. Williams won 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

May 31, 2009|Chuck Culpepper

PARIS — Other than gutting out a gooey 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win at Roland Garros, and other than feeling certain her opponent cheated, and other than having her opponent regard the issue as "stupid," and other than a rather frightening shortness of breath in the third set plus a coughing spell that made her think she "was going to cough up a lung or something," Serena Williams had a pristine day on Saturday.

"I'm like one of those girls on a reality show that has all the drama, and everyone in the house hates them because no matter what they do, like, drama follows them," Williams said. "I don't want to be that girl."

As she spoke, she had withstood three-set tennis drama for the second time in three matches at this French Open, slowly outclassing 43rd-ranked Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain, and she had just spoken out about a disputed point in the fifth game of the first set.

The instance resembled the one at the Beijing Olympics involving James Blake and Fernando Gonzalez, in that one player saw the ball hit the other, with TV replays appearing to confirm the accusation.

"So the ball hit her body, and therefore, she should have lost the point instead of cheating," Williams said.

Asked if it hit her body, Martinez Sanchez replied, "No." She later said, "This question is like, you know, it's like a stupid question, you know."

Said Williams: "I would never do that. I've never done that. I've never sunk low, and I would never do that to anyone on this tour and I never have."

After complaining to the umpire, Williams decided to let it go, figuring, "I felt like I was going to win no matter what." Before letting go, though, she informed the umpire that Martinez Sanchez "better not come to the net again," a comment the TV microphones picked up.

Said Williams: "Well, you know, I am from Compton, so, you know . . . "

Furthermore, she said she'd felt ill for a few days, and that she "didn't have a voice at all" on Friday, adding that everybody at the French fights something-or-other. When a reporter said, "You don't sound too . . .," Williams finished the sentence with, "Sexy?"

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chuck.culpepper@yahoo.com

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