By Ros Satar
(May 26, 2013) PARIS – It as a battle of older and younger siblings, that neither player was a stranger to – but Sunday the younger Radwanska (Urszula) got the better of Williams the elder (Venus) in an epic three setter, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-4 lasting over 3 hours.
No. 40 Radwanska got an early break to lead 30th seed Williams throughout most of the first set, until serving for the set at 5-4.
A string of errors leveled the score, only for Williams to be broken straight back to love.
Serving for the set again Radwanska seemed tight, throwing in a double fault in the middle of the game, and giving Williams her second successive break to take the first set into a tie-break.
Williams fought back from 1-6 down, closing the deficit to 5-6, before handing the set away on an error.
The second set saw Venus take a lead at 5-3, but Radwanska fought back to force another tiebreak, before speeding ahead to a 4-0 lead.
Another great fight back from Williams took the match into a deciding set, in the dwindling light.
It was as if the effort to level the match had taken it out of Williams as Radwanska stretched to a 5-1 lead.
With Williams serving to stay in the match, with perhaps only 15-20 minutes more of light left, it was the trigger for another fight back, to bring things up to 5-4.
Serving it out for the second time, Radwanska and Venus were literally the last ones standing, as the one remaining match was suspended for bad light.
After 3 hours and 19 minutes, Radwanska took it after Venus sent a backhand into the net.
Venus has been troubled by a back injury since late March, and it showed at times, with her movement definitely affected.
She said: “Sometimes you can just play yourself into the tournaments, and maybe if I was able to win that match maybe I could have continued to play better off the ground.
“I’m not sure how much better I could play off the serve.
“That’s sometimes how it works in tennis, but it’s just been a very challenging injury for me.”
Venus still intends to play in the doubles with sister, Serena – currently the bookies’ favorite for the title.
She said: “I think that Serena has to do all the work.
“I will stay at the net and volley, and she’ll do everything else.”
This loss marked the first time that Venus Williams has lost in the first round of the French Open since 2001.