Venus misfires but is still too strong for Frazier

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The Independent Online

Even on an off day, the Wimbledon champion Venus Williams was able to overpower Amy Frazier 6-2, 6-3 and move into the singles final of the WTA Acura Classic in Carlsbad, California.

Even on an off day, the Wimbledon champion Venus Williams was able to overpower Amy Frazier 6-2, 6-3 and move into the singles final of the WTA Acura Classic in Carlsbad, California.

"I didn't play too well today," said Williams. "I was off-balance quite a lot and the [10] double-faults were not good. My serve was definitely off today. Usually I serve a lot better, but today I wasn't connecting. This week I haven't played my best, but I haven't hit myself in the head either," she added. "I definitely will play much better tomorrow."

Williams takes a 14-match unbroken winning run into her third successive WTA Tour title final when she plays against the fourth-seeded Monica Seles.

Seles, a former world No 1, beat Anna Kournikova 6-3, 7-6 in a one hour and 18 minute baseline battle that left the popular Russian still in search of her first WTA singles title after 76 tournaments.

"It was a very good match," said Seles, who overcame a blister on her left hand to improve to a 4-1 winning record against Kournikova. "Anna played some unbelievable tennis. I had to fight to take the match into the tie-breaker. And now I have to rest up for another tough match in the final."

Kournikova said: "Obviously, it was great tennis. She played really well from the baseline. I was a bit tired. I didn't move well and my strokes weren't too consistent. Monica was more consistent. You have to play your best to beat her."

With the score level at 1-1 in the tie-breaker of the second set, Kournikova then presented Seles with a 6-2 lead with several unforced errors. The 19-year-old Russian then sprayed a forehand wide on match point.

"I think Monica has experienced a lot of big matches," said Kournikova, who hammered 30 winners to the 16 of Seles, but had 33 unforced errors to the American's 18. "She obviously wanted to finish it in two sets, so she was giving it her all in the tie-breaker. I tried to force it but I was a bit too slow."

Israel's Harel Levy celebrated his 22nd birthday by beating Jiri Novak 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 to become the first qualifier to reach the final of the Masters Series in Toronto, Canada, since the Swede, Anders Jarryd, in 1983.

"It's something I've been dreaming of since I was a little kid, to be where I am now," Levy said.

He was to meet Marat Safin in the final after the Russian defeated South Africa's Wayne Ferreira 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in controversial circumstances on Saturday night.

In the final game, Ferreira was given a point penalty to present the eighth-seeded Russian with a 40-0 lead and three match points.

Ferreira had queried an overrule by umpire Rudi Berger, and then strolled around the back of the court while Safin waited to serve. Having already received a warning for ball abuse, Ferreira was then docked a point for delaying the game. To a barrage of jeers and boos from the crowd, Safin served and Ferreira caught the ball to end the match.

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