Venus Beats Serena, Joins Jankovc, Zvonareva in Doha Championships Semifinals

by Sean Randall | November 6th, 2008, 4:55 pm

Venus Williams got her younger sister again today, beating Serena 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 to qualify for the semifinals at the season-ending WTA Championships in Doha, Qatar. ADHEREL

Venus and Serena are now even in their sisterly series 9-9, but Venus has won four of their last six meetings including notching the first 6-0 set in the family rivalry today. Venus finishes round-robin play a perfect 3-0.

I didn’t watch any of the tennis action, but losing the last two sets 6-1, 6-0 cannot be a good sign for Serena who must beat Elena Dementieva tomorrow to stay alive and reach the semifinals.

Also today, Jelena Jankovic clinched a Final Four spot beating Sveta Kuznetsova. Jelena and the surprising Vera Zvonareva will play tomorrow with the White Group winner title on the line. Zvonareva has also qualified leaving just one spot left in the semifinals which will go to the winner of Serena and Dementieva.

Dementieva sent Dinara Safina back to Russia after an easy straight-set win. Safina, who I picked to reach the final(!), leaves without winning a single set all week.

Now that’s a tough way to end a year!

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12 Comments for Venus Beats Serena, Joins Jankovc, Zvonareva in Doha Championships Semifinals

Kimmi Says:

Sean: “I didn’t watch any of the tennis action, but losing the last two sets 6-1, 6-0 cannot be a good sign for Serena who must beat Elena Dementieva tomorrow to stay alive and reach the semifinals.”

I didn’t see the match too. You are very right, this is very strange results from Serena. Its surprising too because the match with Safina seem to show a good form from her.

Just to give her the benefit of the doubt, maybe the big sister thing went to her head and could not focus very well as if she was playing somebody else not venus. I hope she recover’s from whatever she is suffering from for tommorrow’s match.

Since I am always caught up at work during the week, can’t watch day matches. It will be good if she qualifies so that I can enjoy good tennis on the weekend. Serena always makes good televion…….


Kuznetzova also finishes 0-3 without winning a set. There are still two other Russians doing well. I expect Dementieva will do well.

One tries not to sound naive, but Serena is coming off a “knee injury”, during which she vacationed and surfed on that bad knee. It allowed her to skip all but events with large prize money purses. She appears heavy (out of shape). Yesterday left the question whether she can still be competitive. Obviously, Safina is not doing her best at 0-3, so we can’t be sure Serena’s win over Safina proved much. Everybody beats Safina, just like last year with Jankovic not winning a single match.


Serena withdraws with a “stomach injury”. Ivanovic also withdraws with “a virus”.

With the two withdrawals, there are three left in each group, calling up an alternate in each. Alternate, Agnieska Radwanska, moves up replacing Ivanovic for the match against Kuznetzova. Alternates are on standby through completion of round robin play, so if I understand correctly, the other alternate, Nadia Petrova, will play against Dementieva. ‘No shortage of Russian players in Doha or doing well enough this year to be there.


A bagel for the two French Open finalists, Ivanovic (0-2) and Safina (0-3).

jane Says:

Ivanovic did look to be drenched in sweat and had the doctor’s checking her blood pressure, so I am not surprised about her withdrawal. Likewise with Serena; her fitness vacillates too much, and as she gets a little older, unless she stays fit, I could see her having more injuries. Safina’s more surprising but maybe she’s a little worn out, this being a break out year for her.

Not to offend anyone, but I’d like to point out a correlation between the women and men withdrawals in the final events of the 2008 season. Wonder what we can glean from it?


I think all reasons for withdrawal that I have seen are credible. I am most cynical about Serena but think I will be discreet about entirely why I feel that way. If Serena’s injury is genuine, it may still relate to her being and appearing out of shape. Withdrawing ends having her be the buzz of the tournament. She has already served a role in giving Venus the best record in their group, both in winning a match and in losing one.

Kimmi Says:

Venus and JJ semi is one to watch. Venus need to get her big serve working. Go Venus !!

Von Says:

Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that something was definitely wrong with Serena in her match v. Venus yesterday, and now it’s been revealed she has a stomach muscle problem, everything makes sense. Both Venus and Serena have met 18 tims and their H2H is now dead even 9-9, (MMT you enquired about this yesterday, it’s now 9-9). But NEVER has any one sister bageled the other, which says a lot. I give Serena kudos for going out and playing instead of withdrawing, giving the fans what they definitely wanted to see, and that was a rematch between the two after Wimby and the USO. The first set was definitely high quality tennis, but it was obvious in the 2nd and 3rd sets Serena was in pain.

With respect to Serena’s weight and fitness, when has that ever been a problem for her? I believe it’s more of a problem for some of us who find it difficult to correlate in our minds that an athlete cannot perform at his/her peak with some extra pounds. serena has always been the exception to the rule. Serena won the ’06 AO with excess weight, blisters and rust, and the icing on the cake was her drubbing of the tall and willowy, Sharapova, who didn’t have any of Serena’s problems with which to contend. So all in all, I’d say Serena’s weight should not be the barometer or focal point by which to judge her performance. when the chips are down Serena rises to the top — I believe she loves the challenge and to prove the naysayers wrong.

I pick Venus to win tomorrow’s match v. Jankovic and then the whole tournament, barring any injuries. Jankovic had the trainer out yesterday in her match for an injury she sustained while playing. Hence, if Venus plays like she’s been playing throughout this tournament, I doubt whether Jankovic will be able to stop her.

Von Says:

If we want to be cynical about withdrawals, I’d say Ivanovic’s withdrawal is the one that’s most questionable. I’m sure many have had the flu and know the side effects thereof. I’ve had the flu where I couldn’t lift my head from my pillow for at least 4-6 days, and was laid up for over a week. That said, I absolutely don’t understand Ivanovic playing 3 matches with the flu and then deciding to pull out due to it’s effects later. Could it be she did so to save face, being 0-3 down. Sweating and blood pressure problems are related to many health issues, so we can’t say for sure that the flu was the problem, but we’ll never know whether Ivanovic’s withdrawal was credible either, e.g., was she running a high fever, which is the most glaring side-effect of the flu, and I’m sure the tournament doctors would have mentioned that when she had her blood pressure taken. The docs would also have seen fit to quarantine her from playing any future matches or remaining on the premises for fear of having the malady infecting everyone else. And then, if Ivanovic knew she had the flu, why in conscience did she not withdraw from the tournament at the inception — surely her colleagues deserve some consideration for their health.

jane Says:

Serena definitely has shown the ability to play her way into an event, and even seemingly improve her fitness along the way! But I think, given that she plays a limited schedule, and given that she’s getting older, it will be more difficult to do so consistently in the future. I don’t think she moves quite as smoothly around the court as Venus, so again I think Serena may be prone to injuries in the future if she doesn’t play regularly, stay match grooved and in top form. She has a lot of power in her strokes, and in her will, which shouldn’t disappear, so I am sure, if she stays injury-free she could be around for a while longer. She’s 27 now, I believe, and Venus is 1 (or is it 2?) year older.

Kimmi Says:

I believe Ivanovic was really not fit to play. I saw one of her highlight where she actually stop chasing the ball because she said she felt dizzy. She also complain about shortness of breath.

I don’t know why she did not stop then, but IMO I believe she wanted to test the waters and see how she would fair up with her level of fitness. Cleary after she struggled in Jankovic and Zvonareva matches then she then see she cannot continue. I give her kudos for going out there and give it her best.

She is still trying to reach her best form that she show in the beginning of the year and I believe when she is on, she is better than her compatriot Jelena Jankovic.

BTW What is wrong with Kuznetsova ? I see a lot of talent in this woman but she is making too many unforce errors. Today’s match with Radwanska she hit 34 or 35 winners to only 6 from Radwanska. Cleary she was the better player in this match but she lost it in the end.

If Kutnetsova sort out her head, I believe she can be number 1. Her technic is very sound, good inside out forehand, good volleys etc. Even Federer said sometime back that he see a lot of talent in her. I hope we live to see this talent one day.

jane Says:


I am inclined to agree with you about Ivanovic maybe not knowing how well she’d fare until she got on the court (I’ve gone to work with the flu thinking I’ll be fine, but once there discovering I can’t do it, or after a day becoming even sicker).

However, on the other hand, we can’t know if maybe there were other motivating factors for her not withdrawing, like points, or her coach, or whatever.

Either way, she did look wan and I don’t think I have ever seen her drenched in sweat like that, not even in the heat in Australia. Both her and Serena’s withdrawals seemed legit to me; I wasn’t surprised by either. Better that they get off the court if they’re not well or if they’re injured, and rest up for next season.

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