NEW YORK // The hopes of a home winner at the US Open rest on the considerable shoulders of Venus Williams today. Venus is the only American singles player left in the 2010 tournament, after Sam Querry - the last of the country's 15 men in the field - fell to Stanislas Wawrinka on Tuesday. And Williams could have her work cut out to prolong the home interest in the tournament as she faces Kim Clijsters, the two-time champion.
When Venus was asked whether she sensed any responsibility to carry American hopes, she smiled and replied: "If I felt like that, I don't think I'd be able to even raise my arms. Thankfully, I don't feel that way. "I think my expectations are enough to deal with, so I'm just going to hopefully temper that. I want to be in the final, because then obviously it's just one more step. But I'm just focused on the semis, and I don't get too excited unless the tournament is over."
Clijsters, the defending champion, extended her US Open winning streak to 19 matches by eliminating Sam Stosur, the French Open runner-up. Clijsters has won six of her previous 12 meetings with Venus. But the Belgian won the most recent four, including in the fourth round in New York in 2009. "Venus is a great competitor. She's been playing some really great tennis these last few matches," Clijsters said. "I look forward to it. It's a challenge."
Clijsters made 43 unforced errors in her victory over Stosur and knows she will have to raise her game. "The next match everything will have to be a lot better," she said. "My serve hasn't been going the way that I want it to go. I think it's because when I play players who play aggressively, I tend to not finish off my service motion properly. "In my movement, as soon as I land on my left foot, which normally you're supposed to land forward, I'm already pushing off to try to get to the next shot. I know that that's not what you're supposed to do. But, yeah, I mean, 20 years of tennis."
Williams is playing for the first time since Wimbledon because of a knee injury. "The way that she's been playing and the way that she has mentally looked," Clijsters said, "I think it's maybe been even been good for her to have been away for that long, because she looks more hungry than ever." * Associated Press