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TENNIS ROUNDUP Mauresmo rallies to defeat Venus at Diamond Games



Published: Mon, February 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



After being denied a big payday, Williams complained of a stomach injury.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

ANTWERP, Belgium -- Top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo beat Venus Williams 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 Sunday to win the Diamond Games for her first victory of the year, denying the American a $1.3 million gem-encrusted racket.

Williams, who complained afterward of a stomach injury, needed to beat Mauresmo to win the gold-and-diamond trophy, which goes to the first three-time winner in any five-year span. Since she won the title two of the last four years, Williams will have a last shot at the trophy next year.

Mauresmo trailed almost throughout the three-set thriller at the sold-out, 14,600-capacity Sports Palace and fought from behind in the last two sets, belying her reputation for struggling under pressure.

"I sought a way to get back in it. That was so satisfying," Mauresmo said.

In the tense final game, she needed five match points before finally pulling off the victory when she hit a shot past Williams at the net.

The 25-year-old Mauresmo now has 16 career titles and closes in again on WTA No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, a position she briefly held last year.

At 5-4 in the second set, Williams was serving for the tournament trophy and seemed ready to post an easy straight set win.

But Mauresmo prevailed, and then produced some of the finest tennis of the week.

But it appeared that Williams would pull out her second chance, going up 4-2 in the final set. Yet again, Mauresmo survived and wrapped up the last four games.

"She played great and deserved the title," Williams said.

ABN Amro

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands -- Top-ranked Roger Federer of Switzerland rallied from a set down to beat Ivan Ljubicic 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (5) and win the ABN Amro indoor tournament.

The match was capped by an entertaining third set of winning shots, duels at the net and a tense tiebreaker. It was a sharp contrast to the last time they met in a final, when Federer won 6-3, 6-1 at the Qatar Open in January.

Federer raised his arms in relief when Ljubicic sent a forehand sailing long to end the match.

Regions Morgan Keegan

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Unseeded Kenneth Carlsen used a steady serve in upsetting eighth-seeded Max Mirnyi 7-5, 7-5 for the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships title, his third ATP championship overall and first since 2002.

Carlsen reached the final when Andy Roddick, the world's No. 3 player, withdrew before their semifinal Saturday with a sprained left ankle.

Fresh for the final, the 31-year-old Carlsen responded by becoming the first player over 30 to win on tour since Andre Agassi at the ATP Masters Series in Cincinnati last August and picking up the $128,000 winner's check.




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