Sunday, July 21, 2024

Venus Williams wins first tour-level match since Wimbledon in 2021

2023 ASB Women's Classic: Day 1
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Tennis legend Venus Williams won her first tour-level match since Wimbledon in 2021 by beating Katie Volynets 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the first round at the ASB Classic on Monday. The former No. 1, currently No. 1007 in the rankings, is preparing to compete in her 22nd Australian Open later this month. 

Her previous match was a first-round loss at the US Open, but Williams was happy to return to the court, especially in this particular New Zealand location.

“This is one of my favorite places to come and I was so excited that I made it here,” she said in her on-court interview. “I remember last tournament that was here, Serena (Williams) won. I remember watching from home, holding on to my seat.”

The event Williams was referring to was in 2020 and had become her sister’s first title since the 2017 Australian Open. Although chances of a return are “very high,” Serena announced last year that she was walking away from competitive tennis. However, Venus isn’t ready to walk away from the sport just yet.

Volynets was leading during the first-set tiebreak when there was a rain delay. Venus shook off any distractions and ended the night with the straight set victory. The veteran admitted that delays can affect players, even those as experienced as her.

“It’s hard when you’re all fired up and just suddenly you have to stop,” Williams told the media. “I was so mad on the rain break. My coach could barely talk to me so I’m going to try to improve my attitude.”

Williams, who had a wild card entry, is moving on to face China’s Zhu Lin in Tuesday’s round of 16. Zhu Lin made it there after upsetting the No. 6 seed Madison Brengle 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 in the first round.

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