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Williams bags precious win in Zurich

©

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-12-10

Third-seed Venus Williams beat Italy's Flavia Pennetta in two sets at the Zurich Open final, securing a comfortable edge over her rivals in the race for a place at the season-ending Doha Masters.


Venus Williams claimed her second title of the year on Sunday when she defeated unseeded Italian Flavia Pennetta 7-6 (7/1), 6-2 in the final of the Zurich Open.

The third-seeded American, who was playing the 60th final of her career, won her 38th title, adding to the Wimbledon crown she earned in July.

Pennetta, who is expected to rise to a new career-high ranking of 14 on Monday, was seeking her fourth consecutive win over Williams, after beating her in Bangkok in 2007 and at Roland Garros and Moscow this year.

The quality of play was worthy of a final, with the players evenly matched in the first set before Pennetta showed signs of weariness in the second.

The Italian, who was involved in a three-set doubles semi-final as well as a hard-fought singles match on Saturday, looked the stronger player in the opening set.

She rallied aggressively from the baseline and drew some superb defensive play from Williams, although she twice failed to make the killer shot at the end of a rally.

Neither player faced a break point in the entire first set, although Williams was taken to deuce five times. But having held serve more easily, only going to deuce once, Pennetta was totally overwhelmed in the tiebreak, dropping the first six points.

In the second set, a slightly tired-looking backhand into the net gave Williams a break for 2-1, and the American consolidated that in the most spectacular fashion by holding her next service game with four consecutive aces.

Pennetta's challenge then faded badly and, although she survived a break point at 3-1, another netted backhand gave Williams a further break for 5-2.

But the drama in the last Zurich Open to be held wasn't quite over.

Williams thought she had won when a ball from Pennetta was judged to have landed right in the corner of the court, a dispute that brought Venus's father and coach Richard to his feet. That brought the score to deuce, but the contest was over two points later.

Date created : 2008-10-19

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