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Serena slumps to heavy defeat

Australian Open Champion Serena Williams made a bad start to the season losing in straight sets to Elena Dementieva. She was making a comeback after injury.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2006 18:17 IST

Serena Williams slumped to a 3-6, 1-6 defeat to Elena Dementieva on her comeback from injury at Hong Kong on Wednesday, dealing a blow to her preparations to defend her Australian Open crown.

The seven-time Grand Slam winner, who had not played since her embarrassing first-round defeat at the China Open in September, was broken in the third game before capitulating in less than an hour in the Champions Challenge opener.

Williams, 24, put in an error-strewn performance against the Russian world number eight and will need a massive improvement if she is to defend her title in Melbourne in less than two weeks.

Looking rusty after her three-month lay-off, she double-faulted to go1-2 down in the first set and was broken again for 1-4.

Dementieva, the defending champion, double-faulted to give the 11th-ranked American hope at 5-3 before finding a deep forehand to wrap up the set 6-3 after 21 minutes.

Williams held her first game of the second set but soon found herself 1-4 down before double-faulting to leave the Russian serving for the match.

Dementieva fired a backhand pass to convert her first match point at 40-15 and wrap up proceedings after just 57 minutes.

First Published: Jan 04, 2006 18:17 IST