The Norman Transcript

Sports

August 27, 2013

Venus gets key win in first round of U.S. Open

NEW YORK — For years and years, a first-round victory by Venus Williams at a major tournament would hardly merit a mention.

She is, after all, a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion. She’s been the runner-up another seven times.

She was ranked No. 1, owns Olympic gold medals, and is second to her younger sister Serena among active women in several key categories, including Grand Slam match wins, with 215.

And yet nowadays, at age 33, two years removed from being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that saps energy, hampered much of this season by a bad lower back, and her ranking down to 60th, Williams entered Day 1 at the 2013 U.S. Open having won a total of three matches over the past five Grand Slam tournaments. Plus, she was facing 12th-seeded Kirsten Flipkens, who was a semifinalist at Wimbledon last month and beat Williams on a hard court this month.

Looking very much like the player she used to be, Williams smacked serves at up to 120 mph, returned superbly, covered the court well enough to hit a handful of swinging volley winners, and beat Flipkens 6-1, 6-2 Monday to reach the second round at Flushing Meadows.

Flipkens, for one, was not surprised in the least to see Williams play that way. To Flipkens, this was not an upset — no matter what the rankings indicate.

“If Venus is there — if she’s fit, if she’s focused — she’s a top-10 player,” Flipkens said. “Everybody who knows a little bit of the game of tennis can see that. Today, she was like a top-10 player.”

Williams, who topped the WTA rankings in 2002, hasn’t cracked the top 10 since she was No. 9 in March 2011. She hasn’t been past the third round at a Grand Slam tournament since a fourth-round exit at Wimbledon later that year. Indeed, Williams lost in the first round in two of her previous four appearances at majors, including at the French Open in May; she sat out Wimbledon for the only time in her career in June.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Lorenzana Texas-Arlington wrecks Sooner momentum with double plays

    Oklahoma didn’t arrive at L. Dale Mitchell in a listless state on Tuesday. It knew the meeting with Texas-Arlington was important. Momentum needed to start heading in a positive direction....

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sooners continue winning streak on the diamond

    After an up-and-down weekend against Texas that ultimately ended on a high note with the Sooners winning two of three, Oklahoma continued its streak on Tuesday....

    April 23, 2014

  • Sooners blank Mean Green thanks to one-hit shutout from Stevens

    Kelsey Stevens’ impact at Oklahoma continues to grow....

    April 24, 2014

  • Sooners rolling in almost every program

    It doesn’t seem so long ago, yet it’s been almost a decade since I wrote a snarky, though not inaccurate column questioning the head-coach-hiring skills of Sooner athletics director Joe Castiglione....

    April 24, 2014

  • Grizzlies will let Russ shoot

    During the hey day of L.A. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, a new term was added to the lexicon. Anyone who seemingly was able to slow down the prolific scorer was automatically dubbed the Kobe Stopper. Players such as Ruben Patterson, Raja ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Tigers, T-Wolves set for showdown

    For many teams in Norman, the Crosstown Clash is the biggest date on their schedule. It’s the game that can make or break the season. The one that determines bragging rights, and the one that the players are most concerned about....

    April 24, 2014

  • Emmert seeks big changes to NCAA

    INDIANAPOLIS — Mark Emmert wants the NCAA to fast-track upgrades for college athletes — regardless of whether a player union is pushing for them....

    April 24, 2014

  • North playing for big picture, NHS fighting for a better place at the table

    While the focus for the next two days will be on the Crosstown Clash, there's also an important postseason race taking place for Norman High and Norman North's baseball teams....

    April 24, 2014

  • Mets edge Cards

    NEW YORK — With a 360-foot relay in the ninth inning, the New York Mets prevented a hard-fought victory from vanishing in the wind....

    April 24, 2014

  • Seahawks will open against Packers

    NEW YORK — As Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks get to kick off the NFL’s regular season by hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 4....

    April 24, 2014

Facebook