Gold medalist Serena goes for Cincinnati title

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CINCINNATI (AP) - Serena Williams arrived at the Western & Southern Open with an Olympic gold medal and a chance to win another tournament she had never won before.

Really, Serena, you haven’t won here before.

During a pre-tournament news conference on Monday, Williams was confused about whether she had taken a title in Cincinnati.

“I did win this tournament, didn’t I?” she said during a press conference. “Maybe I didn’t. I can’t keep up. I don’t think I did. OK. Whoops.”

She has played the Cincinnati tournament three times and her best showing was a semifinal loss in 2006.

Williams followed-up her Wimbledon championship in July by overwhelming Maria Sharapova, 6-0, 6-1 to win the Olympics singles title.

The 31-year-old, who’s ranked No. 4 in the world and is seeded second at the $5.7 million event, spent a week training in Paris before arriving in Cincinnati. She still was basking in the glow of winning both the singles and, with her sister Venus, the Olympics doubles championship.

“It was really awesome to win both medals at the Olympics,” she said. “I really wanted to win doubles. I know everyone was like, `You haven’t won the singles gold, and that’s the only thing big career-wise move that you haven’t won.’ I was like trying to put that out of my mind. I went there really with doubles on my mind, so singles was the ultimate goal for me.”

With those gold medals safely tucked away _ “My gold medals are in a location I probably shouldn’t say, in case someone wants to go and take them,” she said. “They’re not with me” _ Williams now can turn her attention to closing out her hardcourt season, which ends with the U.S. Open starting Aug. 27 in New York.

She said he recent success on grass does not have her wishing to play on it more.

“I actually never really liked grass really. It’s never been my favorite surface. Now, I like it, but I love hardcourts,” she said.

One of her main goals at the U.S. Open will be avoiding run-ins with chair umpires and line judges, which have plagued her last two appearances. She’s not sure if that is possible.

“My mind frame this year is that something is going to happen for sure because something always happens to me at the Open, whether it’s a horrendous line call that’s two feet in or whether it’s a grunt and I get a point penalized or a foot fault when I actually don’t foot fault,” she said. “I’m prepared for something to happen. Hopefully, if I get to the semifinals or finals, I’m really prepared and really going to count. I’m going to try to make it to 10, but if I don’t, I don’t, you know? Hey, I can’t stop who I am, you know? I’m definitely going to start, `one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight’ and see how far I get.”

Thirteenth-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov became the first player upset at the Western & Southern Open, falling to 50th-ranked Nikolay Davydenko 6-1, 6-1 in the first round on Monday.

Davydenko, who was ranked as high as No. 3 on the tour in 2006 and 2007, needed just 52 minutes to oust Dolgopolov, who was coming off winning the Citi Open in Washington on Aug. 5.

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