Williams sisters to clash in semis; Schnyder also through

March 7th, 2008 - 9:06 pm ICT by admin  

(First Lead)
By Saumojyoti Singha Choudhury
Bangalore, March 7 (IANS) Sisters Venus and Serena Williams scored straight sets wins to set up a family clash in the semi-finals of the $600,000 Bangalore Open here Friday. Also entering the last four stage was Swiss player Patty Schnyder, who was stretched to three sets. Second seed Venus shrugged aside a mid-match rally from Russian Vera Zvonareva to win 6-4, 6-3 in just under 90 minutes, while fourth seed Schnyder survived a scare before knocking off giant-killer Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(1) in a thrilling encounter lasting close to two and a half hours.

In the third quarter-finals, Serena Williams beat Russian Anastasia Rodionova 6-1, 6-4 to set up a semi-final clash with sister Venus.

Venus was a little disappointed with the prospect of meeting her sister Serena in the last four. “It would have been awesome if we had met in the finals. But (still)at the end of the day one of us will play in the finals,” said Venus, who is the reigning Wimbledon champion.

Venus, who was not in her elements in the second round match against Shuai Peng, peaked at the right time. There was marked improvement in her service, too, as she controlled them better and reduced double faults from 15 in the previous match, to six this time.

In the first set, Venus raced to a 5-1 lead, breaking her opponent in the second and sixth games. But Zvonareva struck back, drawing parity by breaking back in the seventh and ninth. Venus broke Zvonareva again in the 10th game to pocket the set.

Venus seized control of the second set after breaking her opponent twice, in the second and fourth game. Once again Zvonareva fought back to get one break back in the third but it was not enough to save the day for her, ultimately bowing out 6-3.

Venus said that she was more relaxed and focused compared to her match against Peng.

“I am happy to win in two sets. I concentrated on improving my performance. I had strung my rackets more tightly today that helped me a lot to handle the bounce,” Venus said.

In another match, Schnyder raised her game and fought back from one-set down to beat Amanmuradova.

Amanmuradova raised visions of another upset as she broke Schnyder in the very first game of the opening set and then held her serve to go up 2-0. Thereafter, the set went with serve but the tall Uzbek saved two break points - in the sixth and 10th game- to clinch the set.

Bad line judgments in the opening set left Schnyder disappointed on quite a few occasions.

Down one set, the Swiss player came out determined in the second set and broke Amanmuradova’s serve in the second game. However, the Uzbek drew parity in the ninth only to lose her serve in the next that levelled the set.

In the tenth game, Amanmuradova saved three break points and the players reached deuce six times but Schnyder finished the set with a perfect lob from the back of the baseline.

In the decider, both players broke each other twice - Amanmuradova in the first and third games and Schnyder in the second and eighth. The Uzbek saved three match points in the 12th game to force the tie-breaker.

Schnyder showed her superiority in the tie-breaker, by clinching six points at a stretch to finish the set and match 7-1.

“I had a slow start but later I found my serve. Both of us played tough tennis and the match was up and down till the tie-break but I played better in the tie-breaker,” Schnyder said.

“It was very hot out there. I had some difficulty in coping with the heat. So far I had played all my games at night,” she said.

Amanmuradova said she was happy with her performance here and will have many positives to take home from the tournament.

“Up 4-2 in the third set I really had a chance but she (Schnyder) did everything right on time. She played very well.

“I am very satisfied with the performance here, and for the first time in my career I beat a top 10 player here,” she said.

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