VENUS HOLD THE WHIP HAND

PARIS - World No 2 Venus Williams progressed to the third round of the French Open after beating Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-2 6-4 at Roland Garros yesterday.

PARIS - World No 2 Venus Williams progressed to the third round of the French Open after beating Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-2 6-4 at Roland Garros yesterday.

The American second seed and seven-time Grand Slam champion will play either Slovakian 26th seed Dominika Cibulkova or America's Varvara Lepchenko in the last 32.

Williams doggedly fought off a break point in her first service game and broke Parra Santonja's serve at the second attempt before breaking again for a 5-2 lead and serving out for the set.

The American, who took to the court in a racy black lace dress with red trim, endured stiffer resistance in the second set but captured the decisive break in the seventh game with an emphatic half-volley.

l Swedish fifth seed Robin Soderling defeated America's Taylor Dent 6-0 6-1 6-1 to also reach the last 32 of the tournament. Soderling was last year's runner-up.

l Paul Annacone is leaving as head coach of men's tennis in Britain.

The Lawn Tennis Association says the American's three-year contract will not be renewed when it expires in November.

l Annacone is a former coach of Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Marat Safin and Tim Henman.

He was brought in to try to lift Britain's tennis fortunes. While Andy Murray is currently ranked No 4, there are no other British men in the top 100.

Annacone was recently replaced as a British Davis Cup coach after the team's loss to Lithuania and demotion to the next-to-last tier of the competition.

He will work with Leon Smith, the newly appointed head of men's tennis, until the end of his contract. - Sapa-AP

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