2014/09/22

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni Beats Venus Williams to Win Quebec City

(September 14, 2014) Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni won her first WTA title since 1998, beating former world No.1 Venus Williams 6-4, 6-3 to win the Quebec City tennis tournament in 83 minutes.

In the battle between 30-somethings, Lucic-Baroni 32 and Williams 34, the Croatian had last been in a final in 1998.

Lucic-Baroni reached the Wimbledon semifinals back in 1999. After a hiatus off the tour, she came back in 2007 and at the US Open reached the fourth round.

“It was so long ago, I don’t even remember what it’s like to hold a trophy in my hands,” Lucic-Baroni said. “It’s just incredible. I’m still in a little bit of shock because I was so focused today, but oh my goodness, it’s just an amazing feeling right now.”

Venus Williams who was looking to win her 46th title said: “My opponent played too well against me today. She swung as hard as she could on every shot and hit so many lines. It’s not typical that when you go for every shot they almost all go in. I think I played pretty well, but she just played better than me.”

Lucic-Baroni added the doubles crown to her titles list on Sunday, teaming with Lucie Hradecka to win the doubles, her first doubles title since 1998. For Hradecka it was her 17 WTA doubles title.

Baroni is just the second player to win the singles and doubles titles at the same event this year after Caroline Garcia in Bogotá.

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Sara Errani Stuns Venus Williams in Third Round of US Open

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

(August 29, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Two points from the match 13th seeded Sara Errani, forced a tiebreak and rallied to beat the two-time US Open champion Venus Williams in a topsy-turvy match 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (5).

Williams battled to come back from a break down twice in the final set, but in the end, 52 unforced errors and 8 double-faults were her undoing.

“It was a really tough match, even if I won the first set 6-0,” said Errani.  “She’s an amazing player. I just tried to focus on every point. I tried to keep going, not thinking too much about the score.”

“First set I start very good, very aggressive,” said the 27-year-old Italian. “I was playing very good. She didn’t put too many first serves, so maybe that was a bit the key. And the second set I start a bit down with the legs, not pushing too much the ball, and she was coming in the court. More first serves. So that was a big difference between the first and the second set. The third was very near. Many breaks.”

Before this match, Errani had never won more than 3 games in a set against the 34-year-old Williams in three previous matches.

Next up for Errant, she play a qualifier 121st- ranked qualifier, 32-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who as a teenager reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1999, the last time she made the fourth round of a major.

More to follow.

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Venus Williams Moves into US Open Third Round

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

(August 27, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS –  Nineteenth seed Venus Williams is into the US open third round for the first time in four years, stopping Switxerland’s Timea Bacsinszky 6-1, 6-4.

The 2000-2001 US Open champion who at 34 is the oldest woman left in the draw had been eliminated in the second round three straight years.

“I’m happy,” said Williams. “I won a match again. Finally I did something I couldn’t do the last couple years. That’s good stuff.

“I feel like I’m playing well. I feel like I play my best when my opponent pushes me really. Once we start to, you know, really start to get into a slugfest, I feel like I really relax. Sometimes I feel like when they aren’t pushing me as much maybe I’m a little too passive at times. I don’t know. But I do feel like, you know, when things get tight, I feel like I can rely on myself to compete really well. So that’s a good feeling.”
Next up for the 7-time major champion will be Sara Errani, a former French Open finalist. Williams says she’s ready for the challenge.

“Really just focus because she’s so focused,” Williams said. “She does everything well on the court clearly, because she’s a great singles player and a doubles player. Every time I’ve played her, I’ve had to be focused on every single point, because she does not let up on any point no matter what the score is. If she’s down 5-Love, 40-Love and never won a game in the match, she is in there still to win the match. That’s my main thing: to stay focused and play my game.”

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On Althea Gibson’s Birthday, Venus Williams Reflects on Her Legacy After First Round Win

Venus Williams 2

(August 25, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – On what would have been Althea Gibson’s 87th birthday, 34-year-old Venus Williams overcame 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to win her first round match in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday.

Williams was asked about how Gibson, who was the first black tennis player to win a major, has inspired her.

“What she accomplished is something no one else did, to be not only the best player in the world during that time where she had no support and in a time when it was hard to feel good about yourself because who you were was something that was considered inferior, Williams commented. “So that was very difficult. I can’t imagine how she felt. She did it with class and she did it with grace. I’m very fortunate not to have had to play under those circumstances. I have had an opportunity to play well and be myself, and because of her, I’m really proud of who I am. Really, what she has done, you know, goes beyond words.”
In turn, the 19th seed Williams was asked about the role she and her sister Serena have played in terms of diversity during her career.

“Serena and I played in a different time,” Venus said. “I think we played in a different time where you’re able to have opportunities. And people love to be on the side of a winner, so, you know, the things that everyone did, women’s rights, civil rights, all of those things are a different time, thank God. I’m not saying it’s a perfect time, but it is a different time. So, yes, I think that Serena and I influenced lots of young people, lots of African-Americans, hopefully all kinds of people all around the world, to live a better life through sports or even if they never played.”

In addition to facing a tough opponent on Monday, Williams has to fight off a bee. The two-time US Open champion led 3-0 in the deciding set when a bee buzzed around the court around both players.

“So once it was my turn, then I think I would have been remiss to swat it myself. Kind of came up with a strategy to hopefully, you know, follow her example in that. Just let the fly land on the racquet and in the towel. I guess he’s on his way now.”

The insect was captured and taken off court by ball persons and an additional helper.

Williams’ next opponent will be Timea Bacsinszky in the second round.

Related articles:

Althea Gibson Documentary Project Selected for Film Festivals

Althea Gibson Inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame

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Venus Williams Falls in Opening Round of Cincinnati

By Dave Gertler

(August 12, 2014) MASON, OHIO – The Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, began its qualifying rounds on Saturday, and is now in the completion stages of first-round matches in both the men’s and women’s main draws. On Tuesday morning, the tournament confirmed that Victoria Azarenka – the defending champion – has withdrawn due to injury, thus adding her name to those of Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin Del Potro and Li Na as notable absentees from the event, all due to injury.

 

“I’m going to get more treatment and get more work done,” said Azarenka about her plan for the remainder of the American hard court season, “And should be good for the US Open.”

 

Venus Williams, who last week in Montreal made it to her third WTA final in the last 12 months, won’t duplicate that success this week, having lost to 16th seed Lucie Safarova in the first round. In a match lasting 2.5 hours, Williams won the first set in a tie-break, but Safarova broke her opponent first each set, never giving up the lead, despite Williams breaking back in the second before Safarova served the match out.

 

“I think she just played so well,” said Venus Williams, “No matter what shot I hit she hit a winner, or if I hit it really deep she somehow managed to control it down the line.” Williams said in the third set, “I think she got a little tight at 5‑1. So I had some chances to come back, but it’s a deep hole.”

 

First-round men’s action saw Lleyton Hewitt and Alejandro Falla both advance before the end of the weekend, while Monday’s matches saw no significant upsets. American Jack Sock succumbed to Spaniard Tommy Robredo, while 23-year-old Ohio State graduate Chase Buchanan went down to Portugal’s Joao Sousa in an epic three-setter that lasted over 2.5 hours, touted match of the day by those who saw it.

 

British qualifier James Ward has provided the upset of the day so far on Tuesday, beating No.32-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. In the second round, the 27-year-old Brit will face either Julien Benneteau or another local favorite, Blaz Rola, another graduate of Ohio State.

14th seed Marin Cilic advanced past Feliciano Lopez in two tight sets to face Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, who overcame compatriot Marcel Granollers in one of Grandstand Court’s most entertaining matches on Monday, 5-7, 6-3, 7-6.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Montreal Day 05 and 06 Wrap-Up: Crowd Pleasers

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

Montreal Day 05 and 06 Wrap-Up: Crowd Pleasers

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin | August 8th, 2014

(August 8, 2014) MONTREAL – The Montreal tennis crowd was treated to great matches on Thursday and Friday, as eight of the twelve presented singles matches which went the distance. Here is what stood out from those two days.

Patience is a Virtue (or XXV)

The Montreal-based Williams Sisters fans really didn’t have much to cheer about in the past, as Venus had never showed up to the event and Serena had not played a match at Uniprix Stadium in over 14 years. But patience is a virtue, and the crowd will now be witnessing a Williams showdown in the first semi-final Saturday. A dream match for the tournament organizers, who were understandably worried for the tournament’s storylines after the early defeat of local star Genie Bouchard.

Both sisters had a tough road to the semis: while Serena battled through Lucie Safarova and good friend Caroline Wozniacki (rallying from 6-4, 4-2 down) respectively, Venus played two long battles against Angelique Kerber and Carla Suarez Navarro. The Kerber-Venus match, played under the lights on Thursday, produced some standing-ovation worthy tennis, as both players fought skin and teeth to get the win.

Asked about her previous record of 0-4 at the Rogers Cup, all in Toronto, Venus replied: ‘If I would have known these last 20 years all I had to do was come to Montréal that would be the trick to winning in Canada, I would have done it a long time ago! You live, you learn. Sometimes it takes a couple of decades, but it was worth it!’. This semi-final will be the 25th encounter between the two sisters, Serena having the edge 14-10. It will be their first match in over a year, and only their second meeting since 2009.

3/8

Only three of the top 8 seeds advanced to the quarterfinals in this 2014 edition. After the surprise of Bouchard’s loss to Rogers in round 2, four top seeds lost in thrilling matches on Thursday: Petra Kvitova (2) against Makarova, Maria Sharapova(4) to Suarez-Navarro (14), Kerber (6) to Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic (7) to Coco Vandeweghe. For Sharapova and Kvitova, signs of rust were apparent in their first tournament on the summer hardcourts, as they couldn’t hit through their feisty, more consistent opponents. Other than Serena Williams, only Agniezska Radwanska (3) and Victoria Azarenka (8) sneaked through the quarters, facing each other in a pretty forgettable quarterfinal on Friday night. Azarenka was clearly hampered by a knee injury, and after missing most of 2014 already, things did not look good for the Belarussian out there. For Radwanska, this is her third semifinal in Canada and she will be looking to reach her first finals against Makarova in the night semifinal.

From Q to QF

Coco Vandeweghe was the revelation of the 2014 Rogers Cup, playing an astonishing 13 sets of tennis in 6 days. After getting comfortably through qualifying by winning two matches on the first Sunday, she handled Shuai Zhang in the first round, before beating the ‘Serbian Sisters’, 9th seed Ivanovic and 7th seed Jankovic, in consecutive battles to reach the quarterfinals. Both matches were classics, and probably two of the most dramatic of the week.

In her post-match interviews this week, she mentioned setting the goal to beat a top 10 player by the end of 2014: she accomplished just that, twice in less than 24 hours, and will be a player to watch for the upcoming hardcourt swing. Her big serve and forehand combination couldn’t get her through Makarova in the quarterfinals, who was solid throughout, but did impress the Montreal crowd. With her pure athleticism and a coach that became a star this week for his honest, very honest, feedback on her matches, Vandeweghe could well be on the way for a seeding position at the 2015 Australian Open.

Follow live twitter updates from the Coupe Rogers Montreal on @TennisNewsTPN throughout the week.

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Montreal Rogers Cup Day 03: Or should we say Day 04?

 

Serena Williams

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 03: Or should we say Day 04?

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin and Maxime Labrecque

MONTREAL – After Tuesday’s Genie-gate and multiple blackouts, Wednesday seemed to follow the script, until a match that lasted until…Day 04. Here is a wrap up of today’s events.

Besties on cruise control

The friendship between Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki seemed to evolve over the past few weeks, especially after both were seen hanging out in Miami after the infamous ‘Wozillroy’ breakup. In her news conference yesterday, Wozniacki was all praise for the American No. 1, stating she was ‘incredible, both on and off the court’, ‘a fantastic person’ and that she ‘loved her personality’. Both players, who are set to play in the quarterfinals, had a near perfect match today, getting comfortably to the third round. On one hand, Wozniacki didn’t have to do much against Czech Koukalova, and won 6-1 6-2 in just over an hour, confirming her great post-breakup form. As for Williams, who was playing her first match in Montreal since retiring in the 2000 finals, she only gave 2 games to veteran and 2011 Us Open champion Samantha Stosur. It was one of Serena’s best performances of 2014, being aggressive and not letting the Australian in the match. Serena’s French was also near perfect in the on-court interview, and it seems that her relationship with the Montreal crowd, which could have been tense after a few boos in 2000, is now back on track.

Paris-Montréal

Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza had played a dramatic quarterfinal match at the French Open this year, and this second round was certainly tricky for the 4th seed. Playing in her first hardcourt match of the summer, Sharapova had no room for rust, facing one of the most promising youngsters on the WTA. Despite finishing up a dramatic and intense three-set match against local Stephanie Dubois very late last night, it seemed like Muguruza wanted revenge on her loss in Paris. Hitting her signature clean and flat groundies, she kept Maria off-balance and on the run, and built a nice 6-4 2-1 lead. Serving at 40-0, it seemed like the Spaniard could pull off the upset. But arguably no other player is as resilient as Maria Sharapova, and she proved it again. Winning 11 of the last 13 games, Maria used her first serve well, only losing 4 points when her first strike when in, and shook off the rust to reach the third round. Asked in the post-match interview what she was most happy about, Sharapova had a very wise answer: ‘You know, when you’re able to finish stronger than your start, that’s always a positive because you give yourself an opportunity to keep playing in the tournament. When you’re in that position, there’s always another chance to work in another match to improve and get better’. That next chance will be against Carla Suarez-Navarro, Muguruza’s doubles partner, who will certainly show Maria a very different type of ball striking.

12.36am (or the Never-Ending Day).

What happens when you add up two third-set tiebreaks, two short rain delays, Ana Ivanovic, Coco Vandeweghe and substract a doubles match? A 12.36am finish. Court Banque Nationale today saw a series of long, very long matches and play ended in possibly one of the latest hours recorded at the Rogers Cup, when qualifier Coco Vandeweghe completed her 6-7(7) 7-6(7) 6-4 second round win against 9th seed Ana Ivanovic after close to three hours of play. It all started with 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova and qualifier Heather Watson, who played for more than 3 hours. The Brit, who led 6-2 4-0, couldn’t finish the match in the second set, which she lost 7-6. She then passively let go of a 5-2 lead in the third set, only to finally win in an error-filled third set tiebreak. Watson will face 8th seed Azarenka in the third round. Then came in Jelena Jankovic and Sloane Stephens, who both didn’t want to be overshadowed in the drama department. The American won a tight tiebreak in the first, only to get broken once in the second and lose it 6-4. Despite some spirited fight, Stephens could not manage to repeat her feat of the first set, losing the last three points, also in a third set tiebreak, this time in 3 hours 15 minutes. In the third match (and only two-setter of the court today), Venus Williams dominated young qualifier Yulia Putintseva. Venus was solid, especially on her forehand, while Putintseva was hoping for mistakes. Venus was about to serve for the match at 6-3 5-2, but a rain delay interrupted the match for 45 minutes, only to add to the delay of the final singles match. Venus finished it quickly when the play resumed and will face 6th seed Angelique Kerber of Germany in tomorrow’s night session match. Then came in Coco and Ana, who played one of the best matches of 2014: hard serves, big fight, huge shot-making and just good ol’ WTA drama.

 

Other results:
2nd round
[15] Lucie Safarova (CZE) def. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 6-4 6-2
[14] Carla Suarez Navarro (SPA) def. [LL] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-1 3-6 6-3
[6] Angelique Kerber (GER) def. Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-4 6-1
Sabine Lisicki (GER) def. Madison Keys (USA) 4-6 6-1 6-4
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) def. [LL] Elena Vesnina (RUS) 6-3 6-2
[2] Petra Kvitova (CZE) def. Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 6-3 6-2

Follow live twitter updates from the Coupe Rogers Montreal on @TennisNewsTPN throughout the week.

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In a Battle of Past Champions, Venus Willams Loses to Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon

 

(June 27, 2014) WIMBLEDON – 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova beat five-time champion Venus Williams for the fourth time in five matches moving into the round of 16 with a 5-7, 7-6, 7-5 victory on Friday on Centre Court.

The 34-year-old Williams dismissed any talk of retirement in the near future.

“People have been trying to retire me since I was like 25,” she said. “For some reason in tennis we always do that to our players.  It’s weird.  We don’t encourage them to stick around.  It’s like, Get out of here.

“So I’m not getting out of here.  I think this year has been a great year for me.  I’ve had some tough losses, but I’ve learned a lot from them.  I’m finding my way back on my feet.

“I’m proud of myself for what I’m achieving on the court..”

Williams was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease a few years ago.

“I want to win Grand Slams,” she said. “Everybody does. No one gives it to you. They snatch it away and say, `Mine.’ That’s what I’ll have to do is snatch it, say, `Mine,’ too, growl if need be. `’

“She’s doing good job, Kvitova said.  “Of course, for us it’s always tough to see the opponent who is really trying and fighting.

“She’s a huge player, big champion.  So we all have respect to her, definitely.”

“Definitely I’m pleased that I won, the Czech added.  “I’m in the second week of the Grand Slam, so that’s really nice to have this feeling.

“I’m pleased with my performance.  I mean, I don’t think that I was better player today actually all the match, but I just keep it and try to win the important points in the tiebreak, then I just tried to wait for some breakpoint.

“Yeah, of course, I won three matches here on the grass.  I love it.  I will try not to be the end.”

Kvitova will play Shuai Peng next in the fourth round.

 

THE CHAMPIONSHIPS – WIMBLEDON, GREAT BRITAIN
$ 18,575,979
JUNE 23-JULY 5, 2014

RESULTS – JUNE 27, 2014
Women’s
Singles – Third Round
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d. (2) Li Na (CHN) 76(5) 76(5)
(4) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (Q) Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR) 62 60
(6) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (30) Venus Williams (USA) 57 76(2) 75
(23) Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. (10) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 64 62
(16) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (Q) Ana Konjuh (CRO) 63 60
(22) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Caroline Garcia (FRA) 75 63
Peng Shuai (CHN) d. Lauren Davis (USA) 06 63 63
(Q) Tereza Smitkova (CZE) d. Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) 46 76(5) 108

Singles – Second Round
(3) Simona Halep (ROU) d. (Q) Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 63 46 64
Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. (Q) Victoria Duval (USA) 64 75

Doubles – Second Round
(11) Kudryavtseva/An.Rodionova (RUS/AUS) d. Keys/Riske (USA/USA) 62 62
(12) Medina Garrigues/Shvedova (ESP/KAZ) d. Diyas/Mayr-Achleitner (KAZ/AUT) 60 60
Pennetta/Stosur (ITA/AUS) d. (13) Hradecka/Krajicek (CZE/NED) 75 63
Aoyama/Voracova (JPN/CZE) d. (15) Huber/Raymond (USA/USA) 06 76(5) 64
(16) Muguruza/Suárez Navarro (ESP/ESP) d. Koukalova/Niculescu (CZE/ROU) 62 46 64

Doubles – First Round
(5) Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) d. Begu/Knapp (ROU/ITA) 67(8) 64 64
(7) Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. (WC) Broady/Daniilidou (GBR/GRE) 76(3) 75
(Q) Kichenok/Kichenok (UKR/UKR) d. Davis/Puig (USA/PUR) 62 76(5)
(Q) Gajdosova/Ar.Rodionova (AUS/AUS) d. Schiavone/Soler-Espinosa (ESP/ESP) 63 36 63

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Li Na, Agniezska Radwanska and Venus Williams Reach Wimbledon Third Round

 

(June 25, 2014) WIMBLEDON – No. 2 Li Na, No. 4 Agniezska Radwanska and five-time champion Venus Williams are into the third round of Wimbledon, all women posting straight set victories on Wednesday.

Li Na took to Court No. 2 to defeat Yvonne Meusburger of Austria 6-2, 6-2.

“Can be better.  Can be bad.  You never know,” Li said about her play.

“But I was really happy the way I was hit the ball right now on the court.

Despite being placed on an outer court as the second seed, Li Na enjoys playing earlier in the day.

“I like to be the first match,” she said.  “Yesterday they showed the Centre Court and Court 1, the schedule on the TV.  I say, Go call the schedule.  Maybe I was play first, at 11:30.

“I love to be the first match.  You don’t have to wait.  If they put you in like fourth or last match, you have to wait for the match.  Whole day you couldn’t do anything.

The Chinese woman led off with two breaks of serve early in the first set and followed suit in the second for a convincing win.

Li Na hit 33 winners with 4 aces.

Li Na will play Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the third round.

“I think the last time we meet was like in the clay court,” Li explained.  “I know she was pretty smart player.  Pretty flat.  I think it’s good for her to play on the grass court.

“For me, I think I just play my game, play more aggressive, as much as I can come to the net, follow the plan.”

Radwanska defeated Australia’s Casey Dellacqua 6-4, 6-0 on Centre Court. The woman from Poland ran up a 5-1 lead, but the Aussie won the next three games to get back on serve, then dropped her next service game at love to give the set to Radwanska.

The Polish woman was very happy to be on Centre Court, the site of her only major final. “It’s always great to be out there, especially here what I really have the best memories on the Grand Slam.

“So of course I was really looking forward to being in the Centre Court again.”

No. 30 seed Venus Williams got off to a bit of a slow start against Japan’s Kurumi Nara but won in straight sets 7-6 (4), 6-1 on Court No. 3 to earn a spot in the third round of a major for only the second time in her last 10 major tournaments.

“I think at the important points in the game I was able to lift my game a little, Williams explained.  “That’s what you really want to do.  Then also in the second set lift my game.

“I thought she played well.”

“I know that no one’s going to give me a match,” she added.  “You don’t get given a match, especially at the majors.  I knew all points I would have to work for.”

“It’s very special for me because I saw the Venus like when I was a child, Nara said.

“So it’s very happy to play with her.

The American hit 7 aces and smacked 43 winners past her opponent.

“Definitely for me it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” Williams said about making the third round.  “The thing that I just have to really work on is being on tour consistently and playing tournaments.

“Even leading up these last few months, I don’t feel I played as many matches as I would have liked, as many as my opponents.  The more you play, the more you get used to being down or up or serving things out.

“My whole goal is just to keep playing and stay as healthy as I can.”

 

 

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

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Venus Williams Advances at Wimbledon: Talks ESPN Body Issue and Hunger to Win

 

(June 23, 2014) WMBLEDON – Venus Williams posted a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor of Spain on the first day of Wimbledon. For the five-time champion it was her first singles match win at Wimbledon since 2011. Williams lost in the first round in 2012 and missed 2013 due to a back injury.

The 30th seed said it was great to be back at Wimbledon after a missing last year.

“I think my opponent played amazing.  She just was playing so well, going for everything.  So it was definitely a challenge today against someone who is just playing such inspired tennis.

“It’s definitely a nice start.”

Williams closed out the match winning the last five games.

Williams will be one of the tennis players featured in ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue. She was asked about the shoot.

“I just kept cracking jokes and that definitely made it fun,” she said.  “It was interesting, though.

“I think I’m in better shape now.  Hope we can do a reshoot,” she said with a big smile.

So what made her take part in this, “I think I did it because Serena did it, so…  I don’t know,” Venus said with a roar of laughter in the room.  “I think she was a big influence on me.”

On court after her win, Venus talked about the need to stay hungry.“I’m not looking for anyone to believe in me or anything like that.  You have to believe in yourself these days.”

“I have nothing to prove, nothing to hide, nothing to lose,” she continued. “So for me it’s about continually playing better and getting back up every single time when things might not go my way.  It’s not going to go the way of 127 people in this draw.  It’s going to go the way of one person.  So you just keep going.”

In the second round for Williams will be 41st-ranked Kurumi Nara of Japan.

 

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

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