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Venus Williams easily advances at French Open
Updated: 2005-05-24 09:36

Hitting smashes and volleys with gusto, punching forehands down both lines, Venus Williams enjoyed herself Monday as she cruised into the second round of the French Open.

Venus Williams from the U.S. returns the ball to Spain's Marta Marrero during their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday May 23, 2005. Williams won 6-3, 6-2. [AP]

No. 11-seeded Williams completed her 6-3, 6-2 win over Marta Marrero of Spain in 69 minutes. She would have closed out the match quicker if not for the urge to try extravagant winners instead of more routine shots.

"Sometimes I get a little wild," she said, adding that her opponent's loopy groundstrokes were too much to resist.

"I just love the swing volley," the 6-foot-1 Williams said. "Because I'm so long and tall I can get most of them back. She's like a classic clay-court player, playing high balls and loop balls."

Williams is seeking her first Grand Slam title since winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2001 and is winless in her last five major finals.

She's also carrying the hopes of her family following the withdrawal of sister Serena on Friday because of a lingering ankle injury.

"What can I say? I mean, I wish it was different, but it's not," Williams said.

The closest Venus came to winning the French Open was in 2002, when Serena beat her 7-5, 6-3 in the final. A fourth-round loss in 2003 was followed by a quarterfinal defeat to eventual champion Anastasia Myskina last year.

She's eager to claim a second Roland Garros title for the family.

"I don't know if I'm obsessed," she said. "But I love it here. It's a nice feeling. My goal is to be in the final and to hold up the trophy. I have big dreams of winning this tournament ... always."

Williams is in good form coming into Paris, having won the Istanbul Cup in Turkey on Saturday — the 32nd title of her career but her first in a year. She said her confidence is still intact, and losing bothers her as much as ever.

"I was always raised to go for the gold, and the sky's the limit. I go for it all. I don't put any limits on myself. I would only live with regrets if I had that," she said. "It's extremely annoying (to lose) at any time. But I try to have perspective."

Williams had a word of warning for those who feel her dominant days are over.

"I try not to listen to the talk because everyone can talk," she said "But there are very few who can walk. So for all those who aren't, like, playing, I pay no mind."

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