Serena looks to rebound in Stanford

July 15, 2008 09:35 AM

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Serena Williams hasn't had much rest since losing to her sister Venus in the finals at Wimbledon earlier this month, and that's been the perfect therapy for the eight-time Grand Slam champion.

"I haven't really had time to stop, so I haven't had time to think about it," Serena Williams said Monday during a press conference at the Bank of the West Classic. "I thought about some of the mistakes I may have made, but other than that I just keep going. It actually was the easiest (loss) to get over because I think that's the best way, to keep busy."

Williams will play in her first tournament since Wimbledon in Wednesday's featured match against either Michelle Larcher De Brito of Portugal or Argentina's Gisela Dulko.

Williams is the tournament's top seed and biggest draw. Lindsay Davenport, a three-time winner of the event, withdrew with a lingering knee injury after warming up Monday.

In the featured evening match, sixth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France beat Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 6-1, 6-3.

Coming off a third-round loss at Wimbledon, Bartoli dominated the first set against Amanmuradova, but had trouble with her serve early in the second set. She double-faulted twice in losing the first game, then fell behind 3-1 in the second set before rallying to win the final five games against the taller but unsteady Amanmuradova.

"I won the first set so easily I think my concentration was a little off in the second set," said Bartoli, a finalist at Wimbledon in 2007. "She was hitting the ball really hard, especially from the baseline, and I had to get back on track. I think she was getting tired because she had to run so much in the first set."

Also Monday, Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko beat American Ashley Harkleroad 7-5, 6-2; Alisa Kleybanova beat fellow Russian Elena Vesnina 4-6, 6-2, 6-3; Austria's Sybille Bammer defeated Olga Govortsova of Belarus 7-5, 6-2; and Ai Sugiyama of Japan held on to beat Alexa Glatch of the United States, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

Ranked fifth in the world, Williams is making her first appearance at the Bank of the West after withdrawing twice previously. Venus Williams made her pro debut at the Bank of the West in 1994 and has twice won the tournament.

When Venus beat Serena 7-5, 6-4 to win the Wimbledon women's singles title, it marked the 16th time the two have played one another since turning professional, with each winning eight times. Venus, however, has won three of the last four.

"I don't like losing period, it doesn't matter to who," Serena Williams said. "I obviously want to do well so I just have to keep going. I'm just taking it every day at a time. My main goal is to stay fit and healthy and play a full season."

Hours later, the sisters teamed up to win the women's doubles title.

The final between the two sisters drew the best overnight television ratings in three years while the men's final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer had its best ratings in eight years. Serena Williams said the surge in popularity has been noticeable.

"I definitely feel that and I think that's great," she said. "The fact that my sister and myself had something to do with it is cool. For once it's both men and women, not just one or the other."

Williams has kept a busy schedule that included playing for the Washington Kastles of the World Team Tennis league. That hasn't left much time for her other passions, fashion and acting, but it's the way she prefers.

"Team tennis, no sleep, and just working," Williams said. "Lots of tennis since Wimbledon."

The other top seeds in the event -- Anna Chakvetadze, Vera Zvonareva, and Daniela Hantuchova -- all received first-round byes as well.