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Archive for Monday, April 19, 2004

Forgotten Williams sister rolls

Venus claims first victory in 14 months at Circle Cup

April 19, 2004

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— Venus Williams spun around, waved and touched her heart, mouthing "I love you" to the crowd.

After waiting 14 months for a tournament title, she had her celebration down pat.

No longer injured or tentative, Williams breezed through two near-perfect sets and ended her drought by besting Conchita Martinez, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, Sunday at the Family Circle Cup.

"I just wanted to start this year from here," said Williams, a four-time Grand Slam tournament champion.

By winning on clay, she showed that she could be a factor at the French Open, which starts May 24.

And her postmatch pirouette and special salute to the fans showed how thrilled she was to be a winner again -- for the 30th time in her career. That ties Williams with Tracy Austin for 12th in WTA Tour history.

"I've never played in front of a crowd that was so supportive of me," Williams said.

Williams last won a tournament in February 2003, when she beat Kim Clijsters in the final at Antwerp, Belgium.

In the doubles final, Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paulo Suarez beat Martin Navratilova and Lisa Raymond, 6-4, 6-1.

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