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Venus Williams wins at Istanbul Cup

| Wednesday, May 18, 2005

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Top-seeded Venus Williams routed Marta Marrero of Spain 6-0, 6-0 to reach the Istanbul Cup quarterfinals Tuesday.

Williams, who hasn't won a title in a year, hasn't played in two weeks and needed a confidence boost before the French Open, which starts Monday.

Third-seeded Anna Smashnova and No. 5 Anna-Lena Groenefeld won their first-round matches, but No. 6 Meghann Shaughnessy lost 6-3, 7-5 to Bulgarian qualifier Tszvetana Pironkova.

Smashnova defeated Catalina Castano of Colombia 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 to set up a second-round meeting with Jennifer Hopkins of the United States, while Groenefeld downed Mariana Diaz-Oliva of Argentina 6-3, 7-5, and will face Switzerland's Emmanuelle Gagliardi.

Other winners included Ivana Abramovic, Shahar Peer, and Elena Vesnina.


  • Seventh-seeded Amy Frazier ousted defending champion Claudine Schaul, 6-2, 6-3, in the first round of the Strasbourg International yesterday. Former top-10 player Chanda Rubin made her first appearance on tour since September, and lost to Jie Zheng of China, 6-4, 6-2.

  • Chile and Argentina will play for a place in the World Team Cup final. Defending champion Chile eliminated France with a 2-1 series victory yesterday, and Argentina ousted the Czech Republic, 2-1.

  • Top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko advanced to the quarterfinals of the BTM Power Grand Prix yesterday, beating Sjeng Schalken, 6-3, 6-1. Davydenko will face Felix Mantilla, who upset fifth-seeded Mariano Puerta of Argentina, 7-6 (2), 4-6, 7-5.


  • John Ruiz has come out of his brief retirement to become a heavyweight champion once again -- this time without a fight. Ruiz's camp said yesterday the World Boxing Association has reinstated him as champion in the wake of James Toney testing positive for steroids after their April 30 title fight in New York.

  • Miguel Rodriguez and Carlos Baldomir, the WBC's top welterweight contenders, will meet on the undercard of Saturday's Andrew Golota-Lamon Brewster heavyweight title fight at the United Center.


  • Former Olympic champion Kostas Kenteris will face a public prosecutor this week on charges of avoiding a doping test on the eve of the 2004 Olympics and faking a motorcycle accident hours later, court officials said yesterday. Kenteris, the surprise gold medalist in the 200 meters at the 2000 Sydney Games, and his training partner Katerina Thanou, a silver medalist in the women's 100, couldn't be found at the Olympic Village for an Aug. 12 doping test.

  • IOC president Jacques Rogge said yesterday the Greek people must decide if the record cost of the 2004 Athens Games was worth it. Greece spent about $14 billion on the Olympics, but Rogge said the issue is a domestic matter.


  • San Jose Earthquakes defender Troy Dayak will miss the remainder of his final season with a torn ligament in his left knee. Dayak, who announced last month that this would be his last season in MLS, was injured Saturday against FC Dallas. An MRI showed that he tore his anterior cruciate ligament, the team said yesterday.

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