Venus Williams Set To Face Martina Hingis At Warsaw
by Tripp Mateschitz, venustennis.com correspondent
May 4, 2006
Former world number ones Venus Williams of the USA and Martina Hingis of Switzerland face off on the slow clay in the second round of the J&S Cup at Warsaw, Poland today. Hingis leads the series 10-8, but Williams has won 4 of their 5 last meetings including their last meeting in 2002 on the clay at Hamburg, Germany 7-5, 6-3. Decidely this match does not mean much in terms of ranking points or prize money, but it does factor heavily into both players' preparations for the French Open, which begins near the end of this month. Both players being former teen queens and bitter rivals also would dread to lose to the other.
This clay surface is Martina Hingis' surface as it favors her topspin and crafty shot selection. Venus Williams is probably hoping it won't rain, as damp clay would only serve to further blunt her big serve and power groundstroke game. Williams was able to overpower her first round opponent, 15 year old wildcard Urszula Radwanska of Poland 6-3, 6-3 who was making her WTA Tour debut. But we can expect Hingis to be more experienced with power and nerves. In her first round Hingis outlasted a error-prone Maria Kirilenko of Russia 7-5, 7-6 (7-1).
"We both like to dictate and control the point, even though we have different styles," Williams said. "I guess it'll be like old times." Venus should dictate and be aggressive if she is to win, but she must also cut her errors in the rallies which may be her downfall against the superbly consistent Hingis. Hingis is 22-8 this year while Venus is 1-1. It goes without saying that Hingis is more match-tough.
But let's look at each player's losses this year. In each of her eight losses, Hingis lost more or less by being overpowered by her opponent. In Williams' defeat in Melbourne, she lost 2-6, 6-0, 9-7 in a flurry of errors. Each player is aware of the other's weaknesses obviously. If Venus can hit more winners than errors, she wins. If not Hingis will simply be too consistent and wait for the errors from a rusty Williams who will be playing only her third match this year.