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Category: Serena Williams

Serena and Venus Williams to represent U.S. at Fed Cup

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Serena Williams, who was upset in the fourth round of the Australian Open on Monday, and her sister Venus Williams, who sat out the season's first major tournament because of an immune disorder she revealed at last year's U.S. Open, were selected to the U.S. Fed Cup team that will play in World Group II against Belarus on Feb. 4-5 at Worcester, Mass.

World Group II play is used to qualify teams for eligibility to play in the World Group and a chance for the title in 2013. Players also need to make themselves eligible for Fed Cup in order to be eligible for the Summer Olympics and the sisters have indicated they want to play for the U.S. in London this summer.

Christina McHale and doubles specialist Liezel Huber also will play for the U.S. Belarus likely will be led by Australian Open semifinalist Victoria Azarenka. Azarenka, who next plays Kim Clijsters in Melbourne, could be ranked No. 1 in the world by the end of the tournament.

The winner of this match will advance to the World Group Playoff and play for a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title in 2013. 

“I am looking forward to having Serena and Venus on the team for the first time since I became U.S. Fed Cup captain," U.S. Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez said. "They bring so much to this team, not only for what they can do on court, but the influence they will have on Christina and the rest of the team."

Serena, 30, will make her first Fed Cup appearance since 2007. She is 4-0 in Fed Cup singles play. Venus, 31, revealed she had been diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome during the U.S. Open in August and hasn't played competitively since then.

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-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Venus Williams, left, poses with her sister, Serena, after beating her in an exhibition match in Colombia in November. Credit: Luis Eduardo Noriega / EPA

Serena Williams withdraws from Brisbane with ankle sprain

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Serena Williams said her first thought as she crashed to the court during the second round of the Brisbane International was, "Not again."

Yes, again.

Hopes of avoiding the injuries that plagued Williams since 2010 were dashed Wednesday when a sprained left ankle forced the U.S. tennis star to withdraw from the Australian tournament after defeating Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia, 6-2, 6-4, to advance to the quarterfinals.

“I'm going to take a couple of days off — not too many — and see how I feel,” Williams said in a statement later in the day. “I'm still hopeful of playing the Australian Open.”

Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, who would have faced Williams in the quarterfinals, advances directly to the semifinals.

Williams, who has not played since the U.S. Open final in September due to injuries, was serving for the match with a 6-2, 5-3 lead when she twisted her ankle and fell to the ground. After lying near baseline for several minutes while getting medical attention, Williams was helped to a chair at courtside and had her ankle re-taped.

She limped through the rest of the match, at times wincing in pain, and later hobbled into a post-match news conference, where she told reporters she anticipated her heavily wrapped ankle would be OK. But in her statement later in the day, the 13-time Grand Slam champion said that tests “confirmed that I have a left ankle sprain (and) that I probably shouldn't play on.”

Williams missed about a year of tennis after Wimbledon in 2010 due to two operations on her foot and blood clots in her lungs. She returned to the court last summer and won a pair of tournaments before finishing second in the U.S. Open.

The Australian Open starts Jan. 16 in Melbourne.

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— Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Serena Williams collapses after twisting her left ankle in Brisbane, Australia, Wednesday. Credit: Tertius Pickard / Associated Press

Serena Williams behaving like a grown-up as she turns 30

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Serena Williams turns 30 Monday. Although she recently received plenty of attention for her childish behavior during the U.S. Open final, Williams will have a chance to show her grown-up side in her new role as international goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.

The organization announced the appointment last week, saying Williams' status will help promote UNICEF's mission to provide a quality education for vulnerable children through the Schools for Africa and the upcoming Schools for Asia initiatives.

Williams said the new role would give her an opportunity to work on children's issues, which have always been important to her.

"I believe all children deserve the chance to make something of their lives," said Williams, who started playing tennis at age 4 while living with her family in Compton. "I am committed to helping UNICEF provide a quality education to children to help them build a brighter future for themselves, their families, and their communities."

Williams joins a list of UNICEF ambassadors from the past and present that includes soccer star David Beckham and figure skater Kim Yuna. The 13-time Grand Slam winner first worked with UNICEF in 2006, when she visited Ghana on a health campaign.

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-- Chuck Schilken

Photo: Serena Williams. Credit: Geoff Robins / AFP/Getty Images

U.S. Open: Serena Williams upset in finals by Samantha Stosur

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Serena Williams suffered another temper meltdown at the U.S. Open and then a momentous loss Sunday in the women's final of the U.S. Open.

Ninth-seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia won her first major championship with a 6-2, 6-3 win over 28th-seeded Williams on Sunday on Arthur Ashe Stadium. If the seedings made Stosur the favorite, Williams, who was already a 13-time major winner, was the heavy favorite.

But in the first game of the second set, as Williams hit what was about to be a definitive forehand winner to save a break point, Williams bellowed just before the ball landed. Chair umpire Eva Asderaki of Greece called Williams for a violation and the point was awarded to Stosur.

It also meant the game went to Stosur and as boos filled Arthur Ashe Stadium, Williams had a contentious discussion with chair umpire Asderaki that included Williams saying,"If you ever see me walking down the hall, look the other way."

The last time Williams played at the Open, in 2009, she lost to Kim Clijsters in the semifinals, a match that ended with a controversial foot fault called on Williams that caused Williams to burst into an obscenity-laden tirade that included a threat of shoving a racket down the throat of the lineswoman who made the call. It also resulted in a penalty point that ended the match in Clijsters' favor.

Sunday, after the code violation was called, Serena seemed to say, "I get a code violation for this? I express who I am. We're in America last I checked."

Stosur seemed momentarily unnerved by the incident and the Ashe crowd booed loudly for almost a minute and Williams came back to win two straight games to take a 2-1 lead from 0-1 down.

But the 27-year-old Stosur never changed expression or quit hitting winners. On her third attempt at match point, Stosur pounded a forehand return winner past Williams to complete the 1 hour, 13-minute win.

Williams was gracious on court during the awards ceremony, saying the point that was given to Stosur didn't matter because Stosur was playing too well anyway.

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Samantha Stosur advances to women's finals

Caroline Wozniacki, Serena Williams: Who's No. 1

-- Diane Pucin, reporting from New York

Photos: (Left) Serena Williams reacts as she plays Samantha Stosur during the U.S. Open women's final.Credit : John G. Mabanglo / EPA (Right) Australian Samantha Stosur hits a return to Serena Williams during the final.  Credit : John G. Mabanglo / EPA

U.S. Open: Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, who's No. 1?

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After Caroline Wozniacki, ranked No. 1 in the world, lost her U.S. Open semifinal match Saturday night, 6-2, 6-4, to 29th-ranked Serena Williams, Wozniacki was firm in her belief that her computer ranking is well-deserved.

"I'm still No. 1 in the world," the 21-year-old said. "I'm No. 1 in the race [for the season-ending ranking]. No one can take that away from me for now. I still think Serena played unbelievable today and she's a great champion."

With that said, Wozniacki said it would be hard to figure out now how to beat Williams.

"There's no one on the tour who is playing with as much power as she is and serving as well as she is," Wozniacki said. "Today she was just better than me. I have to accept that and just go back on the practice court and try to improve a few things and then try again next time. Serena has the power to overpower us."

Usually it's impossible to get a just-eliminated athlete from a major tennis tournament to pick a winner in the next match, but Wozniacki has her pick for Sunday's final between Williams and ninth-seeded Samantha Stosur. "Samantha definitely would have to serve well," Wozniacki said. "She definitely needs to get a lot of first serves in and serve well and try just to go for her shots.

"But I still think Serena has the edge and I still think Serena will win."

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U.S. Open: Serena Williams beats Caroline Wozniacki to advance to women's final

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Serena Williams was fiercely focused in defeating top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki in a U.S. Open women's semifinal Saturday night. Williams walloped winners from every place on the court and Wozniacki found out that, in tennis, defense does not win championships.

Williams, out of tennis for almost a year with a series of injuries, reached her fifth U.S. Open final with a 6-2, 6-4 victory.

The 28th-seeded Williams will play ninth-seeded Samantha Stosur on Sunday at 1 p.m. Pacific time in the finals. Williams will be aiming for her 14th major title and fourth U.S. Open crown, and she’s gotten to the finals without dropping a set.

Stosur advanced to her first U.S. Open final with remarkably little notice, considering she has already played the longest tiebreaker in women’s major tournament history and won the longest women’s match, time-wise, in U.S. Open history during this tournament.

Stosur, a 27-year-old from Australia, beat 92nd-ranked Angelique Kerber of Germany, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, Saturday afternoon.

When Williams, 29, was leading 6-2, 1-0, she had whammed and bammed her way to 20 outright winners to none by the 21-year-old Wozniacki, whose signature style is to run down every shot and send it back. And at the end Williams had 34 winners to only five for Wozniacki.

Wozniacki couldn’t run down 120-mph serves or blazing backhands that kicked off the lines. Wozniacki ran out of her three review challenges in the first set in a desperate attempt to win points on video instead of on the court.

--Diane Pucin, reporting from New York

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Photo: Serena Williams powers through a backhand shot during her U.S. Open semifinal against Caroline Wozniacki on Saturday night in New York. Credit: Mike Groll / Associated Press

U.S. Open: Samantha Stosur into final

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Samantha Stosur, who had previously played the longest tiebreaker in women’s major tournament history at the U.S. Open and won the longest women’s match time-wise in U.S. Open history, on Saturday advanced to her first major tournament final.

Ninth-seeded Stosur, a 27-year-old from Australia, beat 92nd-ranked Angelique Kerber of Germany, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.

Stosur will play the winner of the second semifinal between top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki and 28th-seeded and three-time Open champion Serena Williams.

Kerber, 23, was in her first Grand Slam tournament semifinal and only the fourth semifinal of any type. Until coming to New York, Kerber, from Germany, had lost in the first round of the last four majors she played and was trying to become the fifth-lowest ranked Grand Slam finalist in the open era of tennis. Four of them were Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin and Serena Williams, all of whom had major wins on their resumes and were low-ranked because of retirements, injuries or pregnancies.

Stosur, who played in the 2010 French Open final, rushed to a 4-0 lead after only 18 minutes of the third set, asserting herself with her willingness to come forward. Overall, Stosur won 27 of 29 points at the net as Kerber sprayed shots long and wide, perhaps evidence of nerves.

The match was played on the Grandstand Court, the third-largest of the show courts at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center. Because of lengthy rain delays during the week and water damage that shut down Louis Armstrong Stadium, schedules put Stosur and Kerber on the smaller court because the two men’s semifinals were put on Arthur Ashe Stadium along with the Williams-Wozniacki semifinal.

Stosur's only moment of uncertainty in the final set came when she was up 5-0 and had the chance to serve out the match. Stosur committed three unforced errors and was broken, and then lost two straight games. But finally, on her second match point, Stosur smashed a backhand volley emphatically past Kerber.

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-- Diane Pucin, reporting from New York

Photo: Samantha Stosur hits a return to Angelique Kerber during their semifinal match Saturday. Credit: John G. Mabanglo / EPA

U.S. Open: Roddick, Isner advance; Wozniacki to face Serena

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Andy Roddick and John Isner have advanced to the men's quarterfinals at the U.S. Open and top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki will get to prove herself as the world's No. 1 player when she plays against 13-time major tournament winner Serena Williams in the women's semifinals.

Roddick, who won his only major title here in 2003, had to survive another water-related drama Thursday. He and fifth-seeded David Ferrer were supposed to play on Louis Armstrong Stadium in a match that had been canceled because of rain Wednesday. But when Roddick and Ferrer arrived on the court, water was bubbling up from beneath the surface, and after an attempt to dry the court with towels proved unsatisfactory, it was decided to put Roddick and Isner on Court 13 where there are fewer than 600 seats.

With babies crying and a man climbing a fence among the distractions, Roddick managed to pull out a 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Ferrer. He will play defending champion Rafael Nadal in one quarterfinal.

Isner made it to his first-ever major quarterfinal with a 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) win over 12th-seeded Gilles Simon.

Wozniacki survived a late rally from 10th-seeded Andrea Petkovic and earned a semifinal spot against Williams with a 6-1, 7-6 (5) win.

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-- Diane Pucin in New York

Photo: Andy Roddick returns a shot during his victory over David Ferrer at the U.S. Open on Thursday. Credit: Al Bello / Getty Images

U.S. Open: Serena Williams starts slow but finishes fast

Photo: Serena Williams. Credit: Nick Laham / Getty Images.  

Neither Serena Williams nor Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova could hold serve for the first six games of their U.S. Open quarterfinal match Thursday on Arthur Ashe Stadium, but when the 28th-seeded Williams finally got a grasp on how to play her service games, the match turned quickly.

Williams won the final four games of the first set and then dominated the second in her 7-5, 6-1 win over the 17th-seeded Russian, who was playing in her first U.S. Open quarterfinal. Williams finished the match with her seventh ace. She will play the winner of the match between top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki and 10th-seeded Andrea Petkovic in the semifinals.

"It was weird," Williams said. "I had a few errors in the beginning. I told myself 'Don't get too upset, you're still here.' It was interesting."

Williams had practiced indoors several times during the last few, rainy days. "Maybe that had something to do with it," Williams said. "Indoors it's a little faster."

Samantha Stosur, the ninth-seeded Australian who had spent the most time on court of any of the women's quarterfinalsts (Stosur needed 8 hours 35 minutes of tennis to advance that far compared to the 4:49 it had taken Williams), upset second-seeded Vera Zvonareva, 6-3, 6-3. Zvonareva was a finalist here a year ago and Stosur will play in her first Open semifinal.

-- Diane Pucin in New York

Photo: Serena Williams. Credit: Nick Laham / Getty Images.

U.S. Open: Serena Williams beats wind, Ana Ivanovic

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Even when the wind carried her ball toss into another part of the service box or when it blew the visor right off her opponents' head, when the gusts made Serena Williams wish she had Velcro to make her skirt stick to her compression shorts, it didn't matter.

When she needed to, Williams, seeded 28th, stayed true to her game Monday. She served nine aces and moved into the U.S. Open quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over 2008 French Open champion and former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in Arthur Ashe Stadium in a fourth-round U.S. Open match.

Ivanovic, 23, fell behind, 3-0, in eight minutes, but the 6-foot-1 Ivanovic, who was seeded 16th, didn't let the conditions or her own frail serve keep her from being aggressive. Despite serving eight double faults, Ivanovic had more winners than Williams (20-16) and won three games of her own to even the first set. But it was one of those double faults, in the eighth game, that put Williams ahead, 5-3, and Williams served out the first set at love.

Williams also broke Ivanovic in the first game of the second set, an advantage she never lost. Williams, a 13-time major champion and three-time winner here, served a 101-mph ace to end the match and said, "I was just happy to get some balls in the court. It was really windy."

Up next for Williams in the quarterfinals will be 17th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia who upset seventh-seeded Francesca Schiavone, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

Before she knew it would be Williams she would face in the quarters, the 20-year-old Pavlyuchenkova said, "I don't know what to say about her. She's just awesome and a great athlete and she's showing good tennis so far. So I don't know what to say, really.

"I'm just going to go out there and -- I'm going to say that I don't want to go out there and enjoy just being on the center court playing against Serena. I would like to do well, try to fight and with my effort I try to beat here. But of course I respect her a lot as well. She's just great."

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-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Serena Williams drives a forehand shot back at Ana Ivanovic during their U.S. Open match on Sunday. Credit: Nick Laham / Getty Images

U.S. Open: Serena Williams passes test against Victoria Azarenka

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Serena Williams, who was up a set and a break, withstood a furious rally from fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka and advanced to the fourth round of the U.S. Open with a 6-1, 7-6 (5) win that took 1 hour, 50 minutes and featured powerful rallies filled with shots of startling accuracy and power from both women.

Williams -- whose ranking (28th) suffered during her nearly year-long absence from tennis due to injuries beginning in July of 2010 -- seemed to have won the match in the ninth game of the final set when she had Azarenka down 30-40 as the Belorussian was serving. Williams hit a forehand that appeared to have just hit the sideline. Williams and Azarenka began walking off the court, but a lines person had called the ball out. Williams asked for a review, and the replay showed that Williams' shot was out.

From there, Azarenka held serve to stay in the match and broke Williams, whose concentration seemed rattled, in the next game to tie the second set at 5-5 and send the match to a tiebreak.

"She started to get better at that 5-3 game," Williams said. "All I was thinking was, 'Man, at least I won the first set, worst case scenario."

Williams had 12 aces and 39 winners, to 24 for Azarenka.

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-- Diane Pucin in New York

Photo: Serena Williams does the splits while returning a shot during her victory over Victoria Azarenka at the U.S. Open on Saturday. Credit: Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters

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