- TENNIS - Dementieva says father will decide who wins

Tennis Masters Series Logo
Thursday, March 15
Dementieva says father will decide who wins

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Russian Elena Dementieva said she thinks the outcome of the upcoming semifinal clash between sisters Venus and Serena Williams will be their father's call, fanning flames of rumors that have been denied by the Williams family in the past.

Venus Williams, Serena Williams
When Venus Williams, left, and her sister Serena play in singles, Elena Dementieva says their father decides beforehand who will win.

Dementieva suggested that the semifinal winner might be decided before the first ball was struck after she lost in straight sets to Venus Williams in the quarterfinals of the Tennis Masters Series event at Indian Wells event Wednesday.

"I don't know what Richard (Williams) thinks about it. I think he will decide who's going to win tomorrow," Dementieva said of the Williams sisters' father and coach.

Dementieva said she suspected foul play when she watched the sisters 1999 Lipton final, which Venus won 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

"I remember when they played in the Lipton," said Dementieva. "If you saw the match, it was so funny."

On Wednesday, Serena Williams handed Lindsay Davenport, ranked No. 2 in the world, her worst defeat in the last six years, destroying the second seed 6-1, 6-2. Venus Williams, the third seed, then bounced Dementieva 6-0, 6-3.

The sisters have met five times in tournament competition with Venus owning a 4-1 edge, including victories at the 1998 Australian Open and Wimbledon last year, when she stopped a red-hot Serena in straight sets. They are scheduled to play Thursday night at 9 ET (ESPN).

This was not the first time that players have questioned whether the outcome of the Williams matches were decided by their authoritative father beforehand. Martina Hingis once said that the outcome of their matches is a "family affair."

At Wimbledon last year, Serena came into their semifinal red hot, having lost just 13 games in five matches and was favored by many to win it. She had won the first Grand Slam title in the family at the 1999 U.S. Open and appeared to be on a roll.

But Serena fell apart and Venus won 6-2, 7-6. The contest ended when Serena double-faulted, prompting Venus to console her at the net with a pat on the back.

Before the tearful Serena exited the court, Venus helped her younger sister pack her bags. Venus went on to win the title over Davenport.

"I thought Venus was going to win," Davenport said Wednesday of that Wimbledon sibling clash, mildly suggesting that it was Venus' turn.

"I just thought that Serena had won a Grand Slam title, whether it was on purpose or subconsciously or whatever, Venus was going to win the match. That was my opinion," Davenport said.

The Williamses, who were not immediately available to comment on Dementieva's inflammatory statements, have strongly denied the allegation in the past.

Send this story to a friend | Most sent stories

Head to head: Venus Williams vs. Serena Williams

Wednesday's results

Siblings to square off: Both Williams sisters advance

Agassi gets a one-set workout, then an easy victory