<
>

Serena routs Craybas in 55 minutes

3/30/2004

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Serena Williams won the first 10 games
and beat Jill Craybas 6-0, 6-1 Tuesday at the Nasdaq-100 Open, the
tournament's most lopsided quarterfinal since 1996.

The top-seeded Williams, who returned from an eight-month layoff
last week, needed only 55 minutes to advance to Thursday's
semifinals. Williams' opponent in the semifinals Thursday
will be No. 25-seeded Eleni Daniilidou, who beat Karolina Sprem
6-1, 6-3.

"I feel definitely I'm playing better, more consistent today,"
said Williams, who finally has onlookers talking about her game
rather than her racy outfits. "I was really working on being
consistent and getting a lot of balls back."

The Williams sisters remain on course to resume their sibling
rivalry in the final Saturday. Venus Williams faces No. 5 Elena
Dementieva in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

Craybas, the lone unseeded women's quarterfinalist, drew a big
cheer when she finally won a game. The former NCAA champion's
breakthrough came on an errant backhand by Serena Williams, who shrieked
in reaction to the rare mistake.

Craybas' only other meeting with Williams was a first-round loss
at Wimbledon, which was Williams' last tournament before a knee
injury -- and some extracurricular activity -- delayed her
return.

"I feel maybe she was playing a little bit better at Wimbledon,"
Craybas said. "It's hard because she hasn't played in eight
months. So I'm sure she's a little rusty, but hopefully not
that rusty."

Williams smacked five aces and 22 winners. She has won 16
consecutive matches at Key Biscayne, including the finals in 2002
and 2003.

The tournament is Williams' first since knee surgery after
winning her sixth Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in July.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.