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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tennis: Venus Williams beats Bartoli in Key Biscayne semifinal


STEVEN WINE
AP Sports Writer

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. Venus Williams' longest winning streak since 2004 has advanced her to the final at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Williams won her 15th consecutive match Thursday by beating Marion Bartoli in the semifinals, 6-3, 6-4.

"I'm very pleased to be in the final, but it's not enough," Williams said. "I want to take the title."

Her opponent Saturday will be the winner of Thursday night's match between Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, both back from retirement.

Seeded No. 3, Williams took charge from the start against the No. 13-seeded Bartoli, needing only 11 strokes to win the first eight points. A shaky Bartoli double-faulted four times to lose the sixth game.

Bartoli's play steadied as the match progressed, and her two-handed forehand did some damage. Williams fell behind 3-1 in the second set, then began to move forward more aggressively. She went 8 for 8 on points at the net in the second set.

Williams hit eight winners to sweep the final three games and served out the match at love, helped by a pair of aces.

"That's my game to take control and be aggressive," she said. "Hopefully, the fans find it really exciting."

Sister Serena again watched from the photo pit. She missed the tournament with a knee injury that has sidelined her since she won the Australian Open.

The Williams sisters consider Key Biscayne their home event, because they live only 90 minutes up Interstate 95 in Palm Beach Gardens. The berth in the tournament final is Venus' first since 2001, when she won Key Biscayne for the third time.

Now 19-1 this year, Venus is bidding for her third consecutive title after winning at Dubai and Acapulco in February.

"Success on the court is what I expect from myself," she said.