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Venus triumphs in the desert

VENUS Williams won her 40th singles title on Saturday, beating Virginie Razzano of France 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championship.

During the prize presentation, Williams spoke about Shahar Peer, the Israeli player who was denied entry into the United Arab Emirates for the tournament.

"I felt like I had to talk about her," Williams said. "I thought it was brave of her to come here and try and play despite knowing that it is not going to be easy for her. My dad grew up in an area where if you spoke too much, it was your life. So I felt I had a small opportunity to say something where everyone will listen.

"I am not here to rock any boat or upset people, I am just here to do things that are right, and I think right things are already happening next week and right things will happen next year," Williams added. "Obviously, Andy Ram got his visa, so I'll be happy to come and defend next year. If everyone is not given the equal opportunity to play, I'd rethink but I love this tournament. They really care about the players."

In Memphis, Tennessee, Andy Roddick struggled through nearly two sets against Lleyton Hewitt before pulling out a 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 victory in the semifinals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships on Saturday.

Roddick advanced to his second final this year and his fourth overall in Memphis where his lone win came in 2002. He will play Czech Radek Stepanek, who breezed past qualifier Dudi Sela of Israel 6-3, 6-1.


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