Williams Semi Outcome Dad's Decision

INDIAN WELLS, California - Russian Elena Dementieva thinks the outcome of the upcoming semifinal clash between sisters Venus and Serena Williams will be their father's call, fanning flames of rumors that have been denied by the Williams family in the past.

Dementieva suggested that the semifinal winner might be decided before the first ball was struck after she lost in straight sets to Venus Williams in the quarter-finals of the Tennis Masters Series-Indian Wells event on Wednesday.

"I don't know what Richard (Williams) thinks about it. I think he will decide who's going to win tomorrow," Dementieva said of the Williams sisters' father and coach.

Dementieva said she suspected foul play when she watched the sisters 1999 Lipton final, which Venus won 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

"I remember when they played in the Lipton," said Dementieva. "If you saw the match, it was so funny."

On Wednesday, Serena Williams handed world number two Lindsay Davenport her worst loss in the last six years, destroying the second seed 6-1, 6-2. Third seed Venus then bounced Dementieva 6-0, 6-3.

The sisters have met five times in tournament competition with Venus owning a 4-1 edge, including victories at the 1998 Australian Open and last year's Wimbledon, when she stopped a red-hot Serena in straight sets.

This was not the first time that players have questioned whether the outcome of the Williams matches were decided by their authoritative father beforehand. World number one Martina Hingis once said that the outcome of their matches is a "family affair."

At Wimbledon last year, Serena came into their semifinal red hot, having lost just 13 games in five matches and was favored by many to win it. She had won the first Grand Slam title in the family at the 1999 U.S. Open and appeared to be on a roll.

But Serena fell apart and Venus won 6-2, 7-6. The contest ended when Serena double-faulted, prompting Venus to console her at net with a pat on the back.

Before the tearful Serena exited the court, Venus helped her younger sister pack her bags. Venus went on to win the title over Davenport.

"I thought Venus was going to win," Davenport said Wednesday of that Wimbledon sibling clash, mildly suggesting that it was Venus's turn.

"I just thought that Serena had won a Grand Slam title, whether it was on purpose or subconsciously or whatever, Venus was going to win the match. That was my opinion," Davenport said.

The Williamses, who were not immediately available to comment on Dementieva's inflammatory statements, have strongly denied the allegation in the past.