Tri­umphant Venus un­fazed by slump

Wil­liams bat­tling back from in­jury and ill­ness in ef­fort to re­cap­ture for­mer glory

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE in New York

Venus Wil­liams, nagged by lower­back woes and with only one win since early April, ousted 12th seed Kirsten Flip­kens on Mon­day to reach the sec­ond round of the US Open.

The 33- year- old Amer­i­can, the old­est player re­main­ing in the women’s field, dis­patched the Wim­ble­don semi­fi­nal­ist 6-1, 6-2 in just 84 min­utes, aveng­ing a loss to the Bel­gian ear­lier this month in Toronto.

Wil­liams, now 15-0 in US Open first- round matches, ad­vanced to a sec­ond- round date with China’s Zheng Jie at the year’s fi­nal Grand Slam event af­ter miss­ing Wim­ble­don with lower back pain and mak­ing a first-round exit at the French Open.

“I stay pos­i­tive be­cause I know I can play some great ten­nis,” Wil­liams said.

“Some­times you just have to go through more than what you want. Some­times you have to have losses. It al­ways mo­ti­vates me a lot to do bet­ter and work harder.”

A seven-time Grand Slam cham­pion, Wil­liams, who has slid to No 60 in the rank­ings, has not made it past the fourth round of a ma­jor event since reach­ing the 2010 US Open semi­fi­nals.

“I haven’t had a lot of chances to play healthy this year,” she said.

“I’ve had in­juries and what have you, so I’m just go­ing to have to keep work­ing my way into it maybe more than some of the other play­ers ... but I know I can do that.”

Los­ing to Flip­kens three weeks ago in­spired Wil­liams to em­pha­size im­prov­ing her serve in US Open train­ing.

“I started out re­ally strong in Toronto and didn’t end up as well as I wanted,” said Wil­liams, who sported bright pur­ple hair.

“But my serve was a lot bet­ter. Just com­ing back, I’ve had to do a lot of work on my serve. I think that made a huge dif­fer­ence.”

Wil­liams, who could face world No 1 and younger sis­ter Ser­ena Wil­liams in the US Open quar­ter­fi­nals, said that the best ad­vice she has re­ceived in her ca­reer came from Ser­ena, though she would not say what it was.

“She has def­i­nitely given me some great ad­vice that I still think of to this day,” Wil­liams said.

Ser­ena needed just one hour on Mon­day to re­mind ev­ery­one why she re­mains the over­whelm­ing fa­vorite to win the event, de­mol­ish­ing Italy’s Francesca Schi­avone 6-0, 6-1.

MATTHEW STOCK­MAN / GETTY IM­AGES / AFP

Venus Wil­liams salutes fans af­ter de­feat­ing Kirsten Flip­kens at the US Open in New York on Mon­day.

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