ZHENG JIE UP­SETS VENUS WIL­LIAMS AT US OPEN WITH ‘UN­BE­LIEV­ABLE WIN’

Seven-time Grand Slam win­ner rues missed vol­ley at cru­cial time in third-set tiebreaker

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in New York

Sorry guys. Venus is a very good player but I wanted to win also.”

ZHENG JIE AF­TER DE­FEAT­ING VENUS WIL­LIAMS

Venus Wil­liams is go­ing to have a lot more time to pre­pare for her up­com­ing tour­na­ments in Asia than she re­ally wanted, thanks to one of Asia’s top play­ers. China’s Zheng Jie ad­vanced to the third round of the US Open on Wed­nes­day by out­last­ing sev­en­time Grand Slam cham­pion Wil­liams 6- 3, 2- 6, 7- 6 ( 5) af­ter three hours and two min­utes.

“To­day was a tough match for me,” Zheng said. “Un­be­liev­able I can beat her.”

Dead­locked 5-5 in the tiebreaker, 60th-ranked Wil­liams sent a back­hand vol­ley into the net to give 56th-ranked Zheng her first match-point chance. When Wil­liams sent a back­hand wide, Zheng jumped for joy in tri­umph.

“It was amaz­ing. I still feel tight,” Zheng said. “The tiebreaker was so close. Ex­cit­ing for me, of course.”

Wil­liams was still rue­fully re­call­ing the missed vol­ley more than an hour later.

“I should have made the shot,” Wil­liams said. “I think I was just rush­ing. I rushed so badly. I just didn’t make the shot.

“I had a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties in the match. I was al­ways step­ping up and putting my­self in a good po­si­tion. So this is a great sign. Just not play­ing con­sis­tently enough. I just dug my­self into so many holes the whole match. I just fought as hard as I could to get out of them, but it wasn’t enough.”

Wil­liams, the 2000 and 2001 US Open cham­pion, was the old­est re­main­ing player in the field at 33. She had been nagged by back pain that kept her out of Wim­ble­don, where she is a five-time cham­pion, but is now healthy.

Now she is look­ing for­ward to play­ing the up­com­ing Asian swing of WTA events, which in­cludes Seoul, Tokyo, Guangzhou, Bei­jing and Osaka. She also could de­fend a ti­tle in Oc­to­ber in Lux­em­bourg.

“I have to think about this fall, just play­ing maybe quite a few tour­na­ments just to get some mo­men­tum go­ing into next sea­son,” Wil­liams said.

“I’ll go to Asia. I haven’t been there in quite a few years be­cause of in­jury and ill­ness. I’m look­ing for­ward to that. I’m look­ing for­ward to hope­fully be­ing able to pull ev­ery­thing to­gether and get as healthy as pos­si­ble and con­tinue to play.”

Zheng, 30, matched her best US Open runs — thir­dround ef­forts in 2008, 2009 and 2012 — and apol­o­gized to Wil­liams’ home-soil sup­port­ers af­ter the match.

“Sorry guys,” she said. “Venus is a very good player but I wanted to win also.”

Wil­liams, who said she “couldn’t pray for a ball in the first set,” hit 29 win­ners to only 18 for Zheng, but also com­mit­ted 44 un­forced er­rors, 13 more than the Chi­nese.

“I played OK in the first set. In the sec­ond set I knew she would come back,” said Zheng.

“The sec­ond set I lost my con­cen­tra­tion and she played so great. The fi­nal set we were fight­ing each other. This is very good for me and will help me for the next match.”

Zheng, who lost her only other match against Wil­liams in the sec­ond round at Mi­ami in 2004, will play for a berth in the round of 16 against Carla Suarez Navarro.

“She plays so well; her back­hand is so great,” Zheng said of the 18th-seeded Spa­niard.

RAY STUBBLEBINE / REUTERS

MIKE SEGAR / REUTERS

Venus Wil­liams walks off the court dur­ing a rain de­lay in her match against Zheng Jie at the US Open on Wed­nes­day.

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