Tuesday, August 28, 2012
|Venus Williams, USA waves to the crowd after defeating fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.|
It was a slow start for Venus Williams on Arthur Ashe stadium Tuesday afternoon, but once the two-time champion found her groove, there was no stopping her.
Unseeded here for just the third time in 14 appearances, the elder Williams advanced to the second round with a decisive 6-3, 6-1 win over fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Williams fell down early to Mattek-Sands after holding game points in the first game, losing that and the second to trail 2-0. The 31-year-old then kicked into high gear, at one point rolling off 12 straight points to help her build a 5-2 lead.
Serving for the first set at 5-3, Williams belted three straight aces to lead 40-love, and then closed the set off with a service winner to complete it in just 29 minutes.
It wasn’t much different in the second—sans a slow start—for Venus. She broke to begin the set and continued with deep, penetrating groundstrokes to go up 4-1, her serve cooperating well but giving Mattek-Sands plenty of trouble.
Mattek-Sands called for the trainer at 4-1 down in the second, but it only seemed to be delaying the inevitable. Williams won the next two games with ease, closing out the match in just 62 minutes.
Williams had won all three of their previous encounters, including here three years ago in the second round. Mattek-Sands, once ranked as high as No. 30, needed a wildcard to get into the Open after a series of injuries had dropped her ranking to No. 212 this year.
Venus improved her record in the first round of Slams to 53-4, having lost in the opening round of Wimbledon against Elena Vesnina just two months ago. But she has appeared rejuvinated this summer, getting to the third round at the Olympics and then making a run to the semifinals at Cincinnati, losing to eventual champion Li Na.
Two years ago Venus made an inspiring run to the semifinals here, losing in dramatic fashion to Kim Clijsters, the eventual winner. In the second round Venus will face Angelique Kerber, the German who took her out at the Olympics in two tiebreak sets and was a surprise semifinalist here a year ago.
Photos by: Getty Images