Archive for Sunday, June 30, 2002

Venus drops set, but wins third-round match

June 30, 2002


— Finally, a bit of intrigue in the women's draw at Wimbledon: Venus Williams trailing by a set.

Not only that, but the two-time defending champion was limping slightly and playing erratically against a fired-up opponent.

And then quicker than you could say, "Who's Maureen Drake?" Williams won 16 of 17 points to take control against the 110th-ranked Canadian journeywoman and win 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 Saturday.

That put Williams into the fourth round along with six other Americans: her sister Serena, Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles (who also dropped the first set before rallying Saturday), Lisa Raymond, Chanda Rubin, and qualifier Laura Granville.

Plus, seven of Nos. 1-9 made the round of 16. Ho hum.

It's been far different for the men: A startling 18 of the top 21 won't be around when play resumes Monday, including Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick.

Still headed for a semifinal showdown in the only big-name matchup still possible: No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and No. 4 Tim Henman.

Hewitt had just four errors while dismissing Julian Knowle 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 for his third straight-set victory. Henman trying to give Britain its first Wimbledon men's champ since 1936 benefited from a questionable overrule and battled by Wayne Ferreira 7-6 (6), 3-6, 7-6 (8), 6-1.

With Ferreira serving up 4-1 in the third-set tiebreaker, he hit a forehand to the corner that both linesmen ruled in. But with Henman gesturing that the ball landed out, Portuguese chair umpire Jorge Dias gave him the point. Replays appeared to show the shot, on the far side of the court from Dias, caught a line.

Henman had questioned calls throughout, and Ferreira felt he was robbed.

"It was a total intimidation thing," he said. "I don't think it's right for an umpire to overrule at that stage of a match."

Williams' match didn't really start until the first set ended.

Bothered by a sore left knee ("It's just hard at my height on the grass; I have to bend a lot," the 6-foot Williams said), she looked a step slow, failing to get to shots she normally does.

"I was playing too passive, a little too tentative," said Williams, 0-2 against Serena and 38-3 vs. everyone else this year. "I was a little disappointed with myself."

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