BERLIN -- Venus Williams extended her winning streak to 12
matches by beating Eleni Daniilidou 7-5, 6-3 Wednesday to reach the
German Open's third round.
Williams smacked a backhand volley into the open court to end
the match after 80 minutes, but not everything came easily for the
four-time major champion. She trailed 2-0 in the second set before
raising her game.
"It was a good match," Williams said. "I was a little off
today, but I was able to raise my game at the right time. I think
we both did good for the crowd."
The third-seeded Williams is chasing her third straight title at
the clay-court tuneup for the French Open.
"There was a point in the first set when I couldn't get a first
serve over the net," she said. "There's days like that, they're
weird. But I got my notes, my checklist of what I got to do
The American will face 16th-seeded Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi of
Israel, who ousted Nathalie Dechy of France 1-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Kim Clijsters also moved into the third round, overcoming a
rocky comeback from a left wrist injury to get past qualifier Marta
Marrero 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
Clijsters trailed 3-2 in the final set and needed three match
points before winning in two hours.
"I definitely didn't play the best tennis match of my career,"
Clijsters said, adding that her wrist isn't completely healed after
a six-week layoff.
"Being on the court and not being able to hit the ball the way
you like to is frustrating. But winning, no matter how, is
satisfying. It's good to have a tough match like this," Clijsters
She wore a brace around her left wrist for tendinitis, which has
sidelined her since pulling out at Indian Wells, Calif.
Second-seeded Amelie Mauresmo had an easier time reaching the
third round, needing just 50 minutes to coast past Gisela Dulko
Also, Elena Dementieva edged Stephanie Cohen-Aloro 6-4, 3-6,
The brace hampered Clijsters' two-handed backhand, which she was
unable to practice during her layoff.
At one point in the second set against the 81st-ranked Marrero,
Clijsters dropped five straight points, all on backhands. After
losing the set, the Belgian smashed a ball against a wall.
"She was definitely putting pressure on my backhand,"
Clijsters said. "I'm not consistent, but I will try to work myself
back to where I am consistent."
She now faces Karolina Sprem, who eliminated Meghann Shaughnessy
6-2, 7-6 (3).