Game from quick exit, Venus Williams wins at Australian Open | Inquirer Sports
Close  

Game from quick exit, Venus Williams wins at Australian Open

/ 06:09 PM January 15, 2019
Venus Williams

United States’ Venus Williams reaches for a backhand return to Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

MELBOURNE, Australia — Things were looking bad for Venus Williams, who was perilously close to an opening-round exit at the Australian Open for the fourth time in six years.

When she double-faulted twice in the span of three points, Williams suddenly trailed by a set and a break against 25th-seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu. At that moment, 1½ hours into the match, all that separated Williams from defeat was one game. Just one.

ADVERTISEMENT

And over the next 70 minutes Tuesday, Williams went from nearly gone to moving on, putting together a 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), 6-2 victory over Buzarnescu to reach the second round in Melbourne.

“It was pretty hairy there,” the 38-year-old Williams said. “I hope this match will prepare me for the rest of the tournament.”

FEATURED STORIES

She knows her way around a Grand Slam court and a real challenge, having won seven major titles and dealt with an energy sapping autoimmune disease for years.

This match against Buzarnescu, a 30-year-old Romanian who earned a Ph.D. degree in sports science while taking an injury-forced sabbatical from tennis, had plenty of ups and downs for Williams, much like her recent record.

After a real resurgence that saw her get to two finals — including at the 2017 Australian Open, where she lost to her younger sister Serena, a straight-set winner Tuesday — and two other semifinals in a six-major span, Williams was bumped from two of the past four Slams in the first round.

Thanks to recent results, the former No. 1-ranked player is currently 36th; the last time she appeared at a major without the benefit of a seeding was the 2014 Australian Open.

And so, in the seedings anyway, Williams was the underdog in this one, even if Buzarnescu was making only her fifth main-draw appearance at a Slam.

She came in seeking her first career victory at the Australian Open, where she lost to eventual champion Caroline Wozniacki a year ago in her Melbourne debut. And so while she did move out to that early lead, Williams credited “experience” with helping her turn things around.

“I feel like I’ve played the game for a while,” said Williams, who recently split from longtime coach David Witt. “You just have to buckle down and try to play better than your opponent, and it worked out today.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Sure did, but it was touch-and-go there for a bit.

Buzarnescu served for the match at 5-3 in the second set, but Williams broke at love there, then was superior in the tiebreaker that would follow. In the third set, Williams went up immediately, breaking to lead 2-0, and that was pretty much that.

If anything, Williams looked stronger and stronger as the match stretched beyond 2½ hours.

“It was a real marathon,” said Williams, who faces Alize Cornet in the second round. “She played amazing and it was really hard to get on top of her.”

Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Australian Open, Sprots, Tennis, Venus Williams
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our sports news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.