Friday, December 19
Venus is just looking for a win

ESPN.com

WIMBLEDON, England -- Venus Williams still hopes her star is rising while Lindsay Davenport sees the twilight. On Tuesday at Wimbledon, Williams and Davenport met for the 22nd time -- both former champions seeking a win to boost their battered confidence.

In the end, it was Venus who came away with the 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 victory, speaking of future titles, while Davenport spoke of playing her last Wimbledon singles match.

"It definitely ran through my mind when I was out there, that that could be my last singles match out there," Davenport said. "But you know, I don't want to blow it out of proportion. Absolutely no decision by far has been made."

Davenport knows her opportunities for major wins are dwindling.

"Time's running out," she said. "I don't know how many more I'll be playing in to know that. & It just wears on you after a while. I'm 27. I want to feel like I can keep getting better, and I want to feel like I'm one of the top players. I don't want to be, you know, six or whatever the ranking is, through 20. That's just where my heart is."

If it was to be her last match here, it didn't go the way she would have wished. In the first game, Williams showed she was ready for a fight as she won every point and finished with an ace. As she took a 2-0 lead, she had no unforced errors, a far cry from the woman with 75 unforced errors in her fourth-round match at the French Open.

"Even the first service game," Davenport said, "I made something like nine out of 10 first serves and still got broken. I don't think that would happen against a lot of players."

After losing the first set, Davenport didn't hang her head -- as she often does. She fought back to even the match despite letting a 40-0 lead slip away at 1-0 in the second set. But just as Davenport stepped up the level of competition, so did Williams, running away with the third set.

Williams will play Belgian Kim Clijsters in the semifinals on Thursday. It gives Williams an opportunity to help her sister keep her No. 1 ranking. Williams leads their series 4-2; they've split their past two matches, although Williams says she doesn't count the walkover at the WTA Championships. In fact they've never fought an all-out battle.

"I don't think we've played each other where we're both at our best, I think," Clijsters said after defeating Silvia Farina Elia 5-7, 6-0, 6-1.

Williams has struggled to find her best lately. She's chalked up only one tournament win this year -- against Clijsters -- and has lost four of the past five Grand Slam tournament finals to her sister. She's played a limited schedule, her desire to play the game has been questioned and her rank has slipped to No. 4.

"I think that if I'm listening to what everyone says, of course, it's going to be hard," Williams said. "But I have to listen to what I think, and I think that I had a pretty good year. And it's impossible to be a shining star every time. If so, then I guess it wouldn't be as much fun for the fans.

"What I'm saying, it's impossible to be in the winner's circle every time. You don't learn as much if you don't lose a few times."

And has she learned anything from her sister?

"I think, for sure, Serena just always had the better shot last year, for no matter who she was playing," Venus said. "She always had the right answer. She definitely was very motivated to do well and to win, and that's really what it takes."

What motivates Venus Williams is being a champion again.

"I don't come to the tournaments just to have a good showing," she said. "And if I don't win a tournament, I don't get extremely upset. But I would love to win, just like all the other competitors who are going to be in the semifinals. And I would just have to play to win."

Cynthia Faulkner is the tennis editor for ESPN.com.