Sunday, June 23, 2024

‘I’m good at what I do’: Venus Williams marks 90th Grand Slam with opening Wimbledon win

Venus Williams
Venus Williams of the US celebrates winning the women's singles first round match against Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu. (Photo | AP)

LONDON, June 29: Venus Williams marked her record 90th Grand Slam appearance with a three-set victory over Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania at Wimbledon on Tuesday and revealed the secret to her longevity: “I’m good at what I do”.

The 41-year-old American, who is a five-time champion at the All England Club, triumphed 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
Former world number one Williams first played Wimbledon in 1997 and is making her 23rd appearance at the tournament.
Now at 111 in the world, she fired 10 aces and 33 winners to defeat her 160th-ranked opponent.
“I’m good at what I do. You can’t win them all,” said Williams who also chalked up her 90th singles win at the tournament.
“Life is about how you handle challenges. Each point is a challenge on the court. No one gives you anything. I like to think I handle my challenges well.”
Up next is Tunisian 21st seed Ons Jabeur who eased past Rebecca Peterson of Sweden 6-2, 6-1.
Jabeur was the first Arab woman to win a WTA title when she triumphed at the Birmingham grass court event this month.
“Ons is one of my favourite people on tour. Honestly she’s just breaking down barriers,” said Williams.
“The first woman from her country to do anything that she’s doing. She just won her first tournament, so she’s got to be feeling great.
“I just think you’re going to see a whole other generation of women from North Africa coming into tennis. It’s going to be all owed to her. I think she’s inspiring so many people, including me.”
Williams is also playing mixed doubles at Wimbledon with Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios.
She has two mixed doubles titles at the Slams, both with Justin Gimelstob at the 1998 Australian and French Opens.
“We both respect each other’s games,” said Williams of her partnership with Kyrgios.
“I’m looking forward to the experience. Hopefully we’ll team up better. That’s pretty much what I’m looking out of it.
“Obviously if I have experience to share, I’m always willing to do that with anyone who might ask me.”
Fourth seed Alexander Zverev eases past qualifier Tallon Griekspoors
Fourth seed Alexander Zverev served strongly to overpower Dutch qualifier Tallon Griekspoor 6-3 6-4 6-1 on Tuesday and advance to the second round of Wimbledon.
The U.S. Open finalist had lost to qualifiers on his last two visits to the grasscourt Grand Slam but the 124th-ranked Griekspoor, making his Wimbledon main draw debut, did not have the game to challenge the tall German in their first meeting.
Play was suspended due to rain as the roof was closed on Court One with Zverev up a set and a break but the stoppage had no impact on the 24-year-old who continued to land a high percentage of his first serves in to dominate the match.
Zverev hit 20 aces, kept his unforced errors low and broke Griekspoor’s serve six times before sealing the match with a backhand winner down the line.
He will play American Tennys Sandgren or Norbert Gombos of Slovakia for a place in the third round.
Ash Barty reaches second round after wobble
Ashleigh Barty’s bid to win Wimbledon, half a century after fellow indigenous Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley won her first singles title, got off to a winning start on Tuesday with a 6-1, 6-7 (1/7), 6-1 victory over Carla Suarez Navarro.
The 25-year-old top seed has never been beyond the fourth round at Wimbledon but two breaks of serve in the first set and then one at 4-4 in the second seemed to have set her up with a routine victory.
However, with errors creeping into Barty’s game Spaniard Suarez Navarro broke back and the set went into a tie-break.
Suarez Navarro — who has only returned to play in recent months after battling cancer — dominated it and held five set points taking it with the first one 7-6 (7/1).

Barty, though, pulled herself together and played more like the world number one she is in the deciding set.
She showed little sign of the hip injury that forced her to retire from the French Open and made no mistake when holding three match points, taking victory with her first one. (AFP/Reuters)