Venus Advances To Cincy Quarterfinals
On Thursday, in Cincinnati, 39-year-old Venus Williams, with her sister Serena watching from the stands, came from behind and defeated Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals.
In the first set, Vekic broke Williams in the first game, though Williams was able to break right back. At two-all, Vekic hit a brilliant forehand to break and take the lead. Vekic was in a nice rhythm on her groundstrokes. Her inside-out forehand was fantastic, and her first serve was dominant.
In the second set, after having a coffee (she asked her coach for one at the end of the first set during an on-court coaching visit) and taking her coach’s advice not to hit so flat and to get the ball up high on Vekic’s backhand, Williams played much better. She stepped in and put pressure on Vekic’s serve. She moved better.
In the third set, Williams broke in the opening game, but Vekic broke back. She was able to consolidate her break by hitting two backhand winners. Williams got down on her serve love-30 in the next game, but was able to come back to hold. At 2-2, Vekic was serving and up 40-15. This seemed to be the turning point of the match. Williams was able to come back and break by hitting a delicate drop shot and a powerful passing shot. Williams held at love and had the lead at 4-2. Vekic held. Williams held for 5-3. Williams kept the pressure on, and on match point, Vekic double-faulted.
In her post-match press conference, Williams said: “Yeah, I think I just started out slow. That sometimes happens.
“But she also played well. You could see that she was super determined and wanted to get every ball in, ran for every shot, and just forced the issue. I realized who I was going to be up against today and just tried to dig in deeper.
When asked about her sister watching, Williams said: “Honestly, she seemed pretty calm and chill. I think she believed in me. She was rooting hard but didn’t seem panicked at all after I lost the first set. Maybe didn’t play the best games at first the beginning of the first and second. I thought if she can be chill, I can be chill. Yeah.”
(Photo courtesy of A.Doster/USA Today Sports/Reuters)