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Venus to face Davenport in final

July 18, 2004 10:59 IST

Top seed Venus Williams overwhelmed fellow-American Amy Frazier 6-3, 6-1 on Saturday to move into her fifth Stanford Classic final.

In Sunday's final, Williams will meet second seed Lindsay Davenport, who registered a 6-3, 6-2 win over Venezuelan Maria Vento-Kabchi in the second semi-final.

After a seesaw, hard-hitting first set featuring five breaks of serve, Williams romped to victory over 31-year-old Frazier who committed 14 double faults and conceded 33 unforced errors.

Under tremendous pressure from Williams's vaunted return game, Frazier never looked comfortable serving and was unable to claw herself into long backcourt rallies.

"I knew she was going to return well and I felt pressure from the beginning," said Frazier.

"I felt good at the beginning of the match, but once she got the momentum and cut down on her unforced errors, she put me under pressure to go for more shots and it snowballed on me. She overpowered me in rallies because she was hitting so deep."

Frazier broke Williams to 3-2 in the first set and it appeared that Williams might be in for a long afternoon, but Venus broke Frazier back when the baseliner double-faulted.

Williams then held in a tough game to 4-3 when she blasted two service winners. The four-times Grand Slam champion began to mix in slice and kick serves and threw Frazier off her stride.

"It was her double faults that hurt her a lot, but when she hit the ball in she was really striking it and going for it on my serves and painting some lines," said Williams.

"At this point I need someone to come out and play me tough and hard. I enjoyed the whole match."

The quick-footed and steady Vento attempted to stretch out Davenport in long rallies, but Davenport served and returned with authority and was ferocious with her deep groundstrokes.

"We had a lot of close games," Davenport said. "I knew she's a deceptive and tough player. We played a lot of good points, but I was able to control a lot of them. She's a solid player and I had to play well."

Davenport and Williams will contest their fourth Stanford final with the 28-year-old Davenport holding a 2-1 edge. It could very well be their last meeting here, as Davenport is more than likely to retire at year's end.

Matthew Cronin
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