Venus Williams through to Hong Kong final

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:48 IST

Venus Williams beat US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 to advance to the final of the Hong Kong Champions Challenge.

Venus Williams through to Hong Kong final

Hong Kong:

Defending champion Venus Williams beat US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 on Friday to advance to the final of the Hong Kong Champions Challenge. Williams a€" currently ranked ninth in the world a€" faced Kuznetsova for a place in the final of the Hong Kong Champions Challenge. With a strapped thigh muscle, and after a year ravaged by injury, Williams had everything to prove. Kuznetsova came out with all guns blazing and took the first set 7-5, but Williams asserted her power and accuracy in the second set taking 30 minutes to win it 6-2. The real battle began in the third set though. Keen contest Kuznetsova raced to a 4-1 lead and looked invincible, but Williams came back and won the next three games to level at 4-4. The two players then exchanged breaks of serve before reaching 6-6 and the tie-breaker which Williams won by seven points to five after Kuznetsova played a return long. Williams was delighted with the victory, jumping in the air and blowing kisses to the crowd at Victoria Park Tennis Stadium after the match which lasted 135 minutes. In Saturday's final Williams will meet sixth-ranked Russian Elena Dementieva, last year's two-time Grand Slam finalist. Sharapova pulls out Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova pulled out of the tournament because of a stomach virus, although she was not in contention for the title after she lost to Dementieva in the opening round on Wednesday. Sharapova was supposed to have played Czech player Nicole Vaidisova on Friday, but told reporters that she was unable to compete because of illness. The players were using the Hong Kong exhibition tournament as a warm-up for the Australian Open in Melbourne later this month. (AP)

Topics : Tennis Andy Roddick Lukas Dlouhy Rohan Bopanna Leander Paes Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi Maria Sharapova
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