Venus Williams put on a classic display, showcasing her skills and securing her first victory against a top-20 player in four years.
On Monday, 43-year-old Williams emerged victorious in the first round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, defeating Russian player Veronika Kudermetova with a score of 6-4, 7-5.
The 16th seed in the tournament, Kudermetova, was expected to easily defeat Williams. However, the seven-time grand slam champion had different plans.
“The satisfaction I feel today is a result of all the hard work put into being here,” stated the American veteran following their victory.
“I made every effort to arrive here as quickly as possible and in the best possible condition, given the limited amount of time. It is therefore fulfilling to achieve a victory despite the short preparation time.”
In both collections, Williams was behind 4-1 and struggling, but, as she has done many times in her career, she managed to come back and fight.
“I believe that when you’re losing by two breaks, you begin to focus on simply maintaining your serve for the remainder of the set,” Williams stated. “It’s simple thoughts like that that help you get closer to potentially winning another point.”
“Today, I encountered some large gaps on the court that I don’t usually play from… But that’s just part of the game of tennis. That’s what makes it so thrilling.”
Williams will be awaiting to discover her next opponent in the following round in Cincinnati as she continues to prepare for the 2023 US Open.
In 2019, she also achieved a win against a top-20 player at the Western & Southern Open by beating Kiki Bertens in the second round.