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Serving aside

Passive-aggressive Venus through to final

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Originally published on 26/02/10 11:20

She may have 38 titles, including seven Grand Slams and an Olympic gold (or three), to her name, but Venus Williams is on the verge of capturing the one that has got away.

The world No.8 has reached the final of the Sony Ericsson WTA Championships for the first time in her 14-year career, after a 6-2 2-6 6-3 victory over Jelena Jankovic.

Awaiting the 28-year-old in the final is the tournament’s surprise package Vera Zvonareva, who continued her remarkable week with a 7-6(7) 3-6 6-3 victory over fellow Russian Elena Dementieva.

It was an entertaining semi-final but at times displayed the good, the bad and the ugly side of their games, with both players often unable to close games out.

“What got me through the match was being consistent at the right time” – Williams

Williams started the match at a blistering pace, not allowing allowing Jankovic to settle into the match. She broke the world No.1’s serve in the third game with a trademark forehand down the line, and from then on the American dictated terms.

Another break in the fifth game put Williams 4-1 up, but an error-prone follow-up, including two double faults, allowed Jankovic to break back and reduce the gap. But the Serbian immediately conceded another break, gifting Williams a 5-2 lead and a chance to serve for the set.

But Jankovic was now in the match and bounced back in the second set, breaking Venus in the second game as Williams made a string of elementary errors, particularly on serve.

Despite the setback, it was Williams who went 2-1 ahead with a break in the third game of the final set. Suddenly the serve returned to her, and had Jankovic scrambling to stay in touch.

“I had so many opportunities, so many breakpoints – but I didnt do anything” – Jankovic

The match rested on the outcome of a lengthy sixth game that saw a 16-stroke rally and six deuces. If Jankovic had broken the match would have been level and the momentum would have been with the Serb, but it was Williams who eventually finished off the game in emphatic fashion, with a smash at the net to make it 4-2.

Things went from bad to worse for an increasingly desperate Jankovic, who was cited for talking with her godfather who was sitting in the stands, but in game nine she produced an untimely double fault, letting Williams seal the match.

Williams said controlled aggression proved the key to her win: What got me through the match was being consistent at the right time, Williams said.

My game is about being aggressive and taking chances but today I really needed to put a lot more balls in play and be a little smarter.

Jankovic couldn’t hide her disappointment afterwards. It was very frustrating for me because I had so many opportunities, so many breakpoints, she said.

But I didnt do anything. I didnt convert any in my favour, which was the key of the match in that third set, especially.

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Serving aside
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