Venus, Barry Sanders win warmup match

Updated: November 18, 2004, 10:59 PM ET
Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Venus Williams defeated injured sister Serena 6-4, 7-5 in an exhibition match Thursday night.

Serena was obviously limited by the abdominal muscle injury sustained earlier in the week in the WTA Championship final with Wimbledon champ Maria Sharapova. Her serve was noticeably weakened and she grimaced after several shots but was still competitive.

"It's strange, because when the serves are that slow, it throws off your pace and makes it difficult," Venus said. "She was throwing all kind of tricky serves at me because she couldn't hit it hard."

Venus also struggled with her serve early -- double-faulting twice while losing the match's first game -- but rallied to win the first set.

Serena, who was born in Saginaw, almost forced a tiebreak in the second set but finally double-faulted on match point to give her sister the win. It was the first time she had played as a professional in Michigan.

"It was a great crowd. I love Detroit and I wish there was a tournament here every year," she said. "I'll feel better the next time I'm here."

The sisters also played a warmup match, with Venus and football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders beating Serena and local news anchor Stephen Clark 7-3.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press