December 17, 2017

A Stunned Venus Williams Exits the Australian Open in First Round

Venus Williams loses first round at Australian Open 2016 Venus Williams loses first round at Australian Open 2016 Photo Credit: AP

Serena Williams and Madison Keys move on to second round

On Tuesday, No. 8 seeded Venus Williams lost her first round match to upstart Johanna Konta of Great Britain 6-4, 6-2, at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Not many people saw this coming, least of all Venus Williams because she was one of the favorites coming into the Australian Open. After all, Venus reached the Australian Open quarterfinals last year and she won three titles last year: 2015 ASB Classic; Wuhan Open, and the 2015 WTA Elite Trophy.

Not to mention that Venus was seeded inside the top 8 at a major for the first time since the 2011 Australian Open, she had played the Australian Open 16 times prior, and she was playing an opponent making her Australian Open debut.

The pair only met once and that was last fall in Wuhan, China. Venus prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in a match that required a staggering 2 hours, 39 minutes.

Additionally, Venus had won 47 WTA singles titles, compared to zero for Konta.

Konta told the media on the court after the upset that when she realized that Venus Williams was her first round opponent, she thought to herself, "I just hope I stay out there more than an hour."

Perhaps, disturbed at her performance against Konta, Venus Williams skipped her post-match news conference. Venus does suffer from the effects of Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune condition that leaves her prematurely tired and could have affected her execution.

Nonetheless, since the post-match press conference is mandatory for players, Venus faces a fine up to $20,000. It should be noted that Venus also skipped the post-match press conference at the 2015 French Open and was fined $3,000 USD, after losing to fellow American Sloan Stephens.

Venus, who will be 36-years-old in June, was the oldest woman in the draw and it was only the eighth time in 62 Grand Slam appearances that she lost her opening match.

Meanwhile, her younger sister, defending Australian Open champion and No. 1 seed, Serena Williams, won her opening round against Italian Camila Giorgi 6-4, 7-5. This was Serena’s first competitive match in four months.

Ranking at No. 15, fellow American, Madison Keys, overcame some nerves in a first-set tiebreaker and defeated Kazakhstani Zarina Diyas 7-6 (5), 6-1 in another bottom-half match. Keys, a 20-year-old Floridian, was a semifinalist at last year's Australian Open. She lost to Serena Williams in the semis.

 

 

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