Tennis: Williams sisters looking so good

VENUS WILLIAMS sniffled, and the United States Open organisers reacted as if there was an outbreak of pneumonia. Their phobia is understandable, given that injuries have claimed Pete Sampras and Pat Rafter, plus the fact that a flu virus prevented Venus's younger sister, Serena, from travelling to Wimbledon.

"I'm okay," Venus assured reporters, having advanced to the third round of the women's singles with a 6-4, 6-3 win against Anne-Gaelle Sidot, of France. Serena looked in the rudest of health yesterday in defeating the promising Jelena Kostanic, a Croatian qualifier, 6-4, 6-2.

Venus, emphasising that it takes more than something as common as a cold to put her off her strokes, said: "I played the whole of the Lipton with a cold. I've had experience playing being a little bit sick."

At the Lipton Championships in Florida in March, it may be remembered, Venus won the women's singles title, defeating Serena in the final. The possibility of the sister act being repeated here tomorrow week is not to be sneezed at. After all, their father, Richard Williams, has decreed it.

Cue for a spot of stirring in the interview room. Martina Hingis, the top seed, was asked if such predictions served to motivate her. "He always has a big mouth," Hingis said, momentarily forgetting her recent media training. "He always talks a lot. It happened before. It's going to happen again. So I don't really worry about that." Hingis is projected to play Venus Williams in the semi-finals.

Monica Seles, the No 4 seed, may encounter Serena Williams in the quarter- finals. Seles, the champion in 1991 and 1992, has made a brisk start, winning her opening two matches without dropping a set. Yesteday Seles defeated Italy's Silvia Farina 6-2, 6-3.

Frankly, Seles has no time for rivalry hype. "I just hate the whole thought that one is better than the other," she said. "It drives me nuts."

So how did she develop the killer instinct to win nine Grand Slam singles titles? "It's survival out there," Seles said. "If I don't, then the other person will, so you go into that automatic mode that you have no choice."

Seles confessed that she would rather be on the practice court than the centre court. "I truly just love to hit," she said. "I really never enjoyed playing matches, even as a youngster. I just loved to practise and drill and that stuff."

Richard Krajicek, the 1996 Wimbledon champion, seeded No 12 here, relished the opportunity to make amends against the man who eliminated him in five sets in the third round at the All England Club two months ago. Krajicek dispatched the 121st ranked Lorenzo Manta, a Swiss qualifier, 6-2, 6-4, 6-1.

Competitors tend to view Grand Slam events as two tournaments stitched together. "The key for me," Greg Rusedski said, "is getting to that second week." The British No 2 smiled before adding: "The last two Slams I've played, I've got to the second week, but I haven't done anything in the second week. If I can get to the second week here, hopefully I can do something about that."

Should Rusedski win his next two matches, he will mark his 26th birthday on Monday as a contender for the title, having justified himself over the Labor Day weekend. Today, Rusedski will endeavour to reach the third round in a meeting with David Prinosil, a 26-year-old German, ranked No 56.

Rusedski won the last of their three previous matches in four sets on a slow clay court in the first round of the French Open in June, having split the other contests on concrete courts. "We always have very close matches," Rusedski said. "It will be another good test."

Asked if it bothered him that the average fan might not remember that he played in the final two years ago, Rusedski said: "Who remembers who gets to the finals? They only remember who wins. The only way to rectify that is to win."

n Neil Broad, Miles Maclagan and Jamie Delgado will join Tim Henman and Rusedski in the Britain team to play South Africa in the Davis Cup World Group relegation play-off at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena from 24- 26 September. The South Africans will be without Wayne Ferreira, whose wife is expecting a child, and Marcos Ondruska, who has asked to be excused due to loss of form.

Results, Digest, page 27

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker