Williams optimistic despite disappointing Open defeat

Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:36pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Venus Williams fell short of a happy ending to her storybook run at the U.S. Open after her vaunted serve deserted her in the semi-finals against defending champion Kim Clijsters on Friday.

Despite the disappointing 4-6 7-6 6-4 defeat, the 30-year-old said she was confident she still had a lot of tennis left to play.

"I definitely feel like I'll be back next year," Williams told reporters. "This is what I do and I feel like I played great tennis even with minimal preparation."

Williams, who was aching to add a third U.S. crown nine years after collecting her last, had not played a match since Wimbledon due to a knee injury but yet was agonizingly close to reaching the final.

After winning the first set 6-4 while losing only five points on serve, the seven-times grand slam winner reached a second-set tiebreaker against the Belgian before she suddenly wobbled on serve to start a slide to defeat.

Back-to-back double faults handed second seed Clijsters a big edge in the tiebreak and Williams never recovered after losing all four points on her serve to drop the decider 7-2.

"Obviously in the tiebreak I wasn't able to play as well as I wanted," the American third seed said. "I had too many errors, and she played some good tennis. I just wish I could have played the bigger points a little better."

Williams said the wind bothered her during her serves in the tiebreaker, but added: "Regardless, I've got to get it in and start the point.   Continued...