Serena Reminds Everyone Its Her World

Posted on March 17, 2005

Dementieva, Clijsters Into Semifinals at WTA Indian Wells

No. 4 seed Elena Dementieva and unseeded former No. 1 Kim Clijsters both posted three-set wins Wednesday at the WTA stop in Indian Wells to move into the semifinals.

In an all-Russian repeat of last year's US Open final, Dementieva turned the table over No. 5 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, coming from a set down for a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory.

"I was trying to put my first serve in and to serve at her backhand," said Dementieva, attempting to add more "oomph" to her flagging serve.

In the end it was Kuznetsova's serve that let her down, with the reigning US Open champ fighting off four match points but then double faulting on the fifth.

"On the fifth match point I was thinking I have to do something different with this return and be really aggressive," Dementieva said. "I didn't expect her to double fault. She played unbelievable to get those four match points back."

Lamenting her opportunities with characteristic directness, Kuznetsova said the match should have never went three sets.

"I was playing unbelievable tennis in the US Open, but today was different," Kuznetsova said. "I should have won in two sets."

Clijsters, the 2003 Indian Wells winner, improved her career record against Conchita Martinez to 4-1 with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 win. Ranked No. 133 after a return from wrist surgery, the Belgian will need to focus her concentration for her semifinal meeting with Dementieva.

"I felt like I was hitting the ball in the first and third set, not at all in the second set," Clijsters said. "It's just a matter of having that stability, you know, making sure that I can keep it up and don't lose concentration, I guess."

On tap for Thursday in IW are two quarterfinals in (1) Davenport vs. (7) Dechy, and a battle of former slam champs in (3) Sharapova vs. (20) Pierce.

Federer, Hewitt, Roddick, Agassi Lead Seeds Into Quarterfinals at ATP Indian Wells

World No. 1 Roger Federer was forced to muster all his talent Wednesday to quell the power game of his ongoing rival, No. 13-seeded Ivan Ljubicic, Wednesday at the ATP stop in Indian Wells, putting down the Croatian in two tiebreaks 7-6(3), 7-6(4).

"I just believe that once I get in a tiebreaker, anything can happen," Federer said after recording his fourth win over Ljubicic this year in four meetings. "I just try to serve as good as I can and not give him any cheap points. It has a lot to do with making the right choices at the right time."

Federer, now 23-1 on the season, faced no break points during the match and failed to convert on his lone break opportunity.

Top Americans (3) Andy Roddick (d. (17) Gonzalez) and (9) Andre Agassi (d. (5) Coria) also cruised into the quarterfinals in straight sets.

"It's good to have matches like these and know you are up to the task," said Agassi, who rolled through the second set 6-1 against Coria to set up a meeting with Hewitt. "He's a pretty good competitor and makes you hit close to the lines. It was pretty toe-to-toe. It felt good."

Injury-ridden American Taylor Dent, coming off a win over Australian Open champ Marat Safin, this time succumbed to illness in retiring against Guillermo Canas after losing the first set with a stomach virus.

"It's absolutely disappointing coming off a big win against Safin," Dent said.

No. 29 seed Nicolas Kiefer was an upset winner, trouncing No. 10 David Nalbandian 6-1, 6-3, with No. 2 Lleyton Hewitt pounding unseeded Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-1, 6-0, No. 6 Tim Henman surviving in three sets against No. 12 Tommy Robredo, and No. 7 Carlos Moya deflecting the wizardry of unseeded Frenchman Fabrice Santoro in straight sets.

Seeds advancing in doubles Wednesday were (1) Knowles/Nestor (d. Frenchmen (WC) Grosjean/Monfils), Americans (4) Bryan/Bryan (d. Cermak/Friedl), and (6) Paes/Zimonjic (d. Belgians Malisse/Rochus).

Singles quarterfinal action scheduled for Thursday is (14) Canas vs. (6) Henman, and (1) Federer vs. (29) Kiefer.

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Check out the video of the ATP All-Star Rally for Relief charity event at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, now showing at Clijsters on if Justine Henin-Hardenne ever spoke to her during her injury layoff: "Not at all. I've done that (tried to make contact) for a while, but it's tough to keep trying when nothing comes back."...Kim Clijsters on her outlook on tennis: "I've been through a few things in my private life family-wise, you know, with my mom being sick and everything. You know, it's not -- tennis is still a hobby for me. You know, I even realized that more when I wasn't playing. I missed it. I definitely missed it. But it's not something that, you know, is on my mind all the time. You know, there's more things -- there's things more important in life than tennis, I think. And I realized it even more when I was at home, you know, how much I enjoyed spending time with my family and with my friends."...The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, ATP and Mercedes-Benz announced that former pros Gabriela Sabatini and Todd Martin, along with acclaimed author Mark Mathabane, will present several of the 2004 Pro Tennis Choice Awards Presented by Waterford Crystal. US Open TV personality Michael Barkann will serve as the highly-annoying emcee for "Stars for Stars -- A Celebration of Tennis Excellence." The Four Seasons Hotel Miami, in association with NetJets, will host the event on March 22, 2005 on the eve of the NASDAQ-100 Open. The Tennis Channel will produce and air a behind-the-scenes special which will premiere Sunday, April 10, at 8 p.m. ET. Sabatini will present the 2004 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Player of the Year Award to either Lindsay Davenport, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasia Myskina or Maria Sharapova in one of the most closely-contested categories. Martin will present the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, an award he won for two consecutive years in 1993-1994. The ATP will hand out another nine honors, including the presentation of its 2004 Player of the Year Award to Roger Federer. Mathabane, whose moving autobiography, Kaffir Boy, describes his own coming of age under apartheid in South Africa, will present the ATP Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year Award...Andre Agassi taking another crack at the too-slow hardcourt laid down in their home Davis Cup loss against Croatia: "It was the slowest hard court I've ever played on. Like a rainy day in Hamburg, the court was just thick."...Lots of unhappy campers with ESPN failing to broadcast the meeting between the two hottest players on tour in Roger Federer and Ivan Ljubicic. How un-entertaining was that Andy Roddick-Fernando Gonzalez match, with both players trying to pull the trigger on virtually every ball? Gonzo couldn't construct a point if you gave him a pencil and paper...From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "At their tranquil home in Chickamauga, Ga., there are times after sunset when Alex Bogomolov Jr. and Ashley Harkleroad get the itch to hit the hardcourt. It'll be 8 at night, and the young professional tennis newlyweds will head into the back yard. "We play baseline games, and sometimes we'll battle for a couple of hours until late at night," Bogomolov said. It's not often a wife can hit the ball as well as her husband, but Harkleroad is different than most. Harkleroad was a tennis prodigy as a child, considered a phenom at age 15 when she turned pro and was even dubbed the "American Anna" because of her resemblance to Russian tennis player Anna Kournikova. Now 19, Harkleroad married the 21-year-old Bogomolov during a small ceremony Dec. 4 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Married a little more than four months, Harkleroad has already trained Bogomolov on the tennis court. "Alex takes it easy on me," Harkleroad said, laughing. "He knows if he beats me too much, I might get mad at him. And that wouldn't be good."" Ashley "Anna 2.0" is looking to make a return to the WTA Tour from injury, hopefully next month...Serena Williams this week speaking to the AP: "I'm home. I'm having a relaxing time. I love it. My shoulder is good. I feel it's 100 percent. I've never had a shoulder problem. It was kind of weird. I didn't hit for a little while after. I was just giving it some rest and icing it and strengthening the muscles around it. I'm eager to get back out there and start playing matches."...Elanor Preston writing for Tennis Life Magazine: "When asked why she clams up at the mention of (Maria) Sharapova's name, (Serena) Williams becomes tellingly defensive then casually infers that Sharapova would never have beaten her at Wimbledon if Williams had really been trying. "I was a little depressed after that loss because I was, for some reason I was so nervous going into that match I didn't do anything right," she said, clearly mis-remembering quite how well her opponent had played. "I couldn't get any of my shots in. And I just played horrendous and I just gave it away. I've never been so nervous in my life. I felt I could have done more," said Williams. Serena, who has not played the Pacific Life Open since she was booed by the crowd during the 2001 final in what she feels was racist reaction, will be in Miami next week and will, presumably, renew the rivalry with Sharapova there. She promises that tennis is her "No. 1 priority" but it's clear she still has a bewildering number of other irons in the fire. "You guys don't realize, but I have a fashion company," she snapped, as though all professional athletes were also running corporations on the side. "I just walked into my office right now. I'm working on a really intense line for the fall. I'm an actress. I'm working on animation series, different reality series. I don't really think about other people because I really have to focus on me. You know what I mean?" Let's remember people, it's all about Serena, c'mon, get with the program...In the best car-crash pairing of the week, Mark Philippoussis and Jan-Mike Gambill are playing doubles together at the Sunrise (Florida) Challenger: "It's a long way to go, but I'm working hard, and I just have to take it day by day," Philippoussis said on trying to get back into the Top 150. "This is a step in the right direction."