Williams keeps winning streak alive

Venus Williams zipped through the semifinals today in the $535,000 Generali Ladies Openin Linz, Austria, winning her 35th straight match and a berth in the finals against top seed Lindsday Davenport who easily won her match in the other semifinal.

Venus Williams zipped through the semifinals today in the $535,000 Generali Ladies Openin Linz, Austria, winning her 35th straight match and a berth in the finals against top seed Lindsday Davenport who easily won her match in the other semifinal.

The Davenport-Williams final on Sunday afternoon was the dream matchup for the tournament organizers in this quiet Austrian city.

Williams, the Olympic Gold medalist who has not lost a match since the quarterfinals of the French Open on June 6, opened Saturday's play against Chanda Rubin, seeded fifth, with a double fault.

That was about her last mistake, and she went on to serve three aces to take the first game.

Rubin, managed to hold her first service game, but Williams, seeded second, quickly broke her to go ahead 3-1, with mixture of deep passing shots on both sides of the court that kept her opponent on the run.

Williams, 20, appeared nonplussed when Rubin served her first ace, began coming to the net and got back into the game. Rubin's best chance to really challenge Williams came at 5-3 when she had three break balls, and Williams doubled faulted twice to lose that game. But at 5-4, the world No. 3 quickly recovered and took the game to win the first set 6-4.

Rubin, her frustration mounting, was totally outclassed in the second set, netting balls and failing to capitalize on the few openings she did have, losing 6-1 in a 50-minute match.

A smiling Williams said she was pleased to be in Europe and take a break from her university studies for tennis.

"This is much more fun than being in the classroom," she told Austrian television.

Kveta Hrdlickova of the Czech Republic never really had a chance in the other semifinal against Davenport, 24, who played virtually faultless tennis.

Davenport punched shots down the line that Hrdlickova couldn't reach. Hrdlickova had trouble getting her first service in and was only able to hold service twice, losing in straight sets 6-1, 6-1 in just 48 minutes.

"I've played well. The most important thing is that I've served very well," Davenport said after the match. She said she looked forward to Sunday's match against Williams, but acknowledged that it would be "difficult."

While Davenport has the career edge with 9 victories in their 15 meetings, Williams has had the upper hand lately, winning five of their last six encounters, including Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Davenport last beat Williams in the semifinals in Philadelphia last year.

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