Serena Williams smashes through in Paris

10th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 9 (AFP) - Top seed Serena Williams smashed a racquet on her way to a quarter-final berth at the USD 585,000 (EUR 456,500) Paris Indoor Open here on Wednesday.

PARIS, Feb 9 (AFP) - Top seed Serena Williams smashed a racquet on her way to a quarter-final berth at the USD 585,000 (EUR 456,500) Paris Indoor Open here on Wednesday.

Playing in her first tournament since winning a second Australian Open title in Melbourne last month, the 23-year-old American claimed a 6-3, 6-2 victory over French wildcard entry Stephanie Cohen-Aloro.

Williams, who is bidding for a third Paris title after 1999 and 2003, had a first round bye and needed 62 minutes to see off the French player.

But despite the respectable score line the second round match was riddled with errors by the American who is just getting over a bug virus and had seven double faults, and managed just under half of her first serves.

"I have a problem, I think I have anger issues," said Williams.

"I had a 24 hour bug and I'm just trying to get over it."

The world number two got off to a flying start by taking the first game after slamming down four aces and racing to a 3-0 lead.

But Cohen-Aloro held serve for 3-1 and broke in the fifth game after her opponent had three consecutive double faults leading an angry Williams to smash her racquet on the carpet of the Pierre de Coubertin stadium.

"I've just switched to a new racquet. The new one breaks easier, even if you bounce it," she explained. "I've smashed so many racquets but this is the first one here."

The 94th-ranked Frenchwoman looked as if she was going to give the seven-time Grand Slam winner a run for her money when she took the sixth game to love to level 3-3.

But Williams upped the tempo, reeling off the next eight games, before hitting a glitch on her first match point which she netted.

The error allowed Cohen-Aloro level 40-40, and two more shots into the net handed the French player a way back into the match at 5-1.

Cohen-Aloro served to love 5-2, and Williams needed two more match points before hitting a winner along the tramlines on her third match point to set up a meeting with either Dinara Safina or fellow Russian Vera Douchevina.

Williams, who won the first of her 26 WTA titles in Paris, said that she was getting over a 24 hour bug that she picked up earlier in the week, but had not wanted to miss the event where she won her first title.

"It's special to me, it's the first place I won a WTA tour event. I don't know why I like it so much. It's small and cozy and comfortable and I just love it," she added.

Earlier Italy's Silvia Farina Elia, the seventh seed, booked her quarter-finals spot when the 32-year-old brushed aside French wild card entry Virginie Razzano 6-4, 6-1 in 1hr 17min.

She next meets either France's Tatiana Golovin or Croatian lucky loser Sanda Mamic, who replaces Russian third seed Maria Sharapova, who pulled out of the tournament earlier Wednesday citing illness.

After arriving in the French capital on Monday, a day after beating world number one Lindsay Davenport to claim the Pan Pacific Open title in Tokyo, 17-year-old Sharapova said she was suffering an upper respiratory illness.

Meanwhile Australian Open semi-finalist Nathalie Dechy, the fifth seed, advanced to the second round with a 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Croatian Jelena Kostanic in 1hr 51min.

She next meets fellow Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli, a 6-3, 2-0 winner after Greece's Eleni Daniilidou retired complaining of a right thumb inflammation after 47 minutes on court, for a quarter-final place.

Second seed Amelie Mauresmo, the 2001 champion here, plays her second round match Thursday against fellow Frenchwoman Mary Pierce, winner in 1998.


Subject: French News

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