Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 26th 2015 Contents A55
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
PARIS---A loss by Venus Williams in the
first round at a Grand Slam is no longer the
rarity it once was.
And, as it happens, the woman who beat
Williams at the French Open yesterday, Sloane
Stephens, is making a concerted effort, at her
coach s behest, to focus less on who is on the
other side of the net.
Still, it was hard not to see the 22-year-old
Stephens 7-6 (5), 6-1 dismissal of seven-time
major champion Williams, who at 34 was the
oldest woman in the field, as a statement about
the directions their respective careers are head-
ing.For the 15th-seeded Williams, it was her
second opening defeat in three years at Roland
It also was the fifth time in the last 13 Grand
Slam tournaments she s entered that she exited
in the first round. Before that stretch, it hap-
pened once in 37 majors.
Williams didn t show up for a news con-
ference, meaning she could face a fine. Instead,
she issued a five-sentence statement that read
in part: "When you arrive at any tournament,
you hope you will have a chance to work your
way into the event, but I didn t have that oppor-
tunity---she just played better than me today."
That is true.
The 40th-ranked Stephens, who has reached
the French Open s fourth round the last three
years, was consistently strong from the baseline,
making only 14 unforced errors to Williams
"I want her to play with a sense of joy ...
and play everything as well as she can, relent-
lessly, and not be concerned with the result.
Let the result take care of itself. And she did
a good job of that today," said Stephens coach,
The biggest victory of Stephens career came
at the 2013 Australian Open, when she defeated
Williams younger sister Serena en route to the
This was the first time Stephens had faced
Venus Williams, other than beating her in an
exhibition as a teen.
"But," Stephens said, "I don t think that
Now Stephens joins Lindsay Davenport as
the only Americans to have beaten each
Williams at a Grand Slam tournament.
Two other seeded women lost Monday: No
14 Agnieszka Radwanska, who was the run-
ner-up at Wimbledon in 2012, and No 22
Barbora Strycova. Two seeded men exited, too,
including No 11 Feliciano Lopez, who now has
10 first-round exits in 15 appearances in Paris.
Winners included No 3 Andy Murray, who
played with his wedding ring tied to his shoe
and improved to 11-0 since getting married,
and defending women s champion Maria Shara-
She was jeered off Court Philippe Chatrier
for skipping the customary post-match inter-
view, citing a cold. Sharapova coughed repeat-
edly while getting past Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 6-4,
and when asked later about not talking to the
fans, she said their reaction was "absolutely
normal ... but I ve got to do what I have to
Stephens was reserved during her on-court
interview, referring to Williams as "someone
we all looked up to for so long," but hardly cel-
ebrating as if this meant a lot to her. (AP)
SURREY---Alexander Levy of France had
rounds of 66-67 to earn one of 11 spots in the
US Open from the sectional qualifier Monday
One day after Levy slipped out of the top 60
in the world ranking that would have made him
exempt for the US Open, the Frenchman made
14 birdies on the Old and New courses at Walton
Heath to lead all qualifiers.
The US Open is June 18-21 at Chambers Bay
The other players earning spots in the 36-
hole qualifier were: Shiv Kapur, John Parry, Alex
Noren, Lucas Bjerregaard, Jason Palmer and Mar-
cel Siem. Tjaart Van Der Walt of South Africa
had two eagles and a birdie on his final six holes
that put him into a five-man playoff for the final
four places. He got in along with Garth Mulroy,
Thomas Aiken and Marcus Fraser.
Three-time major champion Padraig Harring-
ton made bogey on his final hole and missed the
playoff by one shot. Also missing by one was
Peter Uihlein, who won the US Amateur in 2010
at Chambers Bay.
In the sectional qualifier in Japan, Liang Wen-
chong led five players who earned their way to
the US Open. Liang had rounds of 65-65 at
Kinojo Golf Club. The four who qualified were
Masahiro Kawamura, Baek Seuk Hyun, Kurt
Barnes and Hiroyuki Fujita. (AP)
ZURICH---Prince Ali bin al-Hussein s Fifa
election team says it rejected a potentially ille-
gal offer to help him oust president Sepp Blat-
ter in Friday s election and informed law
enforcement agencies about the approach.
The challenger s campaign said yesterday it
was approached by an individual who offered
details on Blatter s finances and claimed to be
able to help deliver dozens of votes in the head-
to-head contest for the Fifa presidency. It did
not identify the individual.
It said it rejected the offer and informed
police authorities, but did not disclose which
country s law enforcement was contacted.
However, the Jordanian prince---a Fifa vice
president---did not notify football s governing
body of the attempt to corrupt the election or
that Blatter s purported private information
was apparently being touted.
Asked why the ethics body was not informed,
the prince s campaign team said that it "did
not want to do anything that could jeopardise
the police investigation."
"Our goal was not to create a campaign issue,
but to properly react to an approach made to
us that appeared to involve criminal activity,"
the prince s team said.
On Friday, Blatter, who has been Fifa president
since 1998, will face the first contested vote
for the job since 2002. Prince Ali, whose brother
is Jordan s King Abdullah, is the only challenger
after former Portugal great Luis Figo and Dutch
football federation president Michael van Praag
withdrew their candidacies last week.
Information about the alleged offer to help
oust Blatter was released in a statement from
Quest, a corporate intelligence firm run by for-
mer London police commissioner John Stevens.
Quest said it has been working for the prince s
campaign in order to guard "against any threats
to the integrity of the election process ... or
campaign dirty tricks."
Quest said the potentially illegal offers did
not come from people claiming to work for any
of Fifa s 209 member associations. (AP)
Fifa challenger: I was
Levy among 16 to
qualify for US Open
Venus Williams ousted
by Sloane Stephens
Venus Williams of the US gestures after missing a return in the first round match of the
French Open tennis tournament against Sloane Stephens of the US at the Roland Garros
stadium, in Paris, France, yesterday. Williams lost 7-6 (5), 6-1. AP PHOTO
PARIS --- A look at the French Open
Weather: Cloudy. High of 68 degrees
Men's seeded winners: No 3 Andy
Murray, No 4 Tomas Berdych, No 12 Gilles
Simon, No 13 Gael Monfils, No 17 David
Goffin, No 18 Tommy Robredo, No 21
Pablo Cuevas, No 27 Bernard Tomic, No 28
Fabio Fognini, No 29 Nick Kyrgios, No 31
Viktor Troicki, No 32 Fernando Verdasco.
Men's seeded losers: No 11 Feliciano
Lopez, No 30 Adrian MannariNo
Women's seeded winners: No 2 Maria
Sharapova, No 8 Carla Suarez Navarro, No
11 Angelique Kerber, No 12 Karolina
Pliskova, No 17 Sara Errani, No 19 Elina
Svitolina, No 22 Barbora Strycova, No 26
Sam Stosur, No 27 Victoria Azarenka, No
29 Alize Cornet, No 30 Irina-Camelia Begu.
Women's seeded losers: No 14
Agnieszka Radwanska, No 15 Venus
Williams, No 22 Barbora Strycova.
Stat of the Day: 5 Number of times
Venus Williams has lost in the first round
in the last 13 Grand Slams tournament she
On court today: No 1 Novak Djokovic vs
Jarkko Nieminen; No 1 Serena Williams vs
Andrea Hlavackova; No 4 Petra Kvitova vs
Marina Erakovic; No 6 Rafael Nadal vs
Quentin Halys; No 5 Caroline Wozniacki vs
Karin Knapp; No 6 Eugenie Bouchard vs
Kristina Mladenovic; No 7 David Ferrer vs.
Lukas Lacko; No 9 Marin Cilic vs. Robin
Haase; No 10 Andrea Petkovic vs Shelby
Rogers; No 10 Grigor Dimitrov vs Jack
Today's forecast: Mainly sunny. High of
66 degrees (19 Celsius).
FRENCH OPEN AT A GLANCE
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