Tennis Identity

Planet Venus

It really isn’t easy being Venus Ebony Starr Williams these days. The 7 times grand slam champion was involved in a car incident in London’s Wimbledon just before the start of the Championships and legal proceedings are to follow. In a teary eyed first round post match interview, Williams appeared introverted and alone as she took questions about the matter. We all feel for her.

The sympathy for Venus Williams extended to watching a painful second round encounter against Qiang Wang from China. In what should really have been a straightforward encounter (Williams dismissed her at Roland Garros earlier this year in no time at all), Williams made heavy weather of the encounter on the hottest and sunniest day of the Championships thus far.

At 4-4 in the first set and with Williams on serve, one sensed the danger zone circling overhead. The break soon came, care of some lazy footwork and her unreliable Williams forehand. Wang ramped home this early gift and had no problems in serving out for the first set as three out of four returns from Williams hit the bottom of the net to seal a 6-4 first set to her opponent. Everybody knows (who knows anything about this incredible champion), that both Venus and Serena Williams are most vulnerable during the opening stages of the slams. However, at 37 years old, one would think her strategy might just have changed. It did just that in the nick of time.  At 5-4 with some inspired ground strokes from Williams she broke Wang and into a third set we go.

Does Williams have the physical prowess to fight off the threat for another 30 minutes or so, from the 25 year old ranked number 55 in the world? We will see. Williams steps up to the serve line and takes 3 minutes to hold serve and changes ends looking the more confident. Wang suddenly struggles on serve, but just manages to do so by wrong footing the American. Anything can happen and with a forehand from Venus that was almost back in New York, one felt that Williams might be on the next flight out of London too.

The greatest doubt one has about Venus Williams these days, as opposed to her younger sibling, is whether she can play the big points well. Time after time, break points came, and went. When  Williams did suddenly break to lead 3 1 a collective sigh of relief was heard around court number 1. However, the heavy weather suddenly came back into the game of Williams: she doesn’t make it easy. Nonetheless she is now 4-1 up following a well disguised drop shot. 50 percent of the court is now in shadow and the sun is  now mainly illuminating on the elegant Williams who is beginning to get her act together.

Wang showed signs of mental fatigue as her game level dropped considerably and donated another break to Williams with a double fault. Williams now serving for a  spot in the third round and two big serves signals her intent, but not before the predictable double fault then followed. It’s never pretty these days, but someone 1 hour and 48 minutes later, she seals the deal.

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