Venus Williams is No. 2 in the world after this week behind her younger sister Serena, but you wouldn’t know it by her poor play this year (for a Williams sister) in clutch situations — amidst the failure of any of the current or former No. 1s to step up to the plate on the WTA Tour. On Sunday in Madrid, Venus lost in straight sets 6-2, 7-5 to Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai.
In a final where tennis fashion threw up, Rezai contested the championship in a shiny gladiator outfit, a copper and black ensemble resembling a waitress at “Gladiator: The Movie and Dining Experience” in Orlando. Venus wore a red and black short bordello outfit, looking like a woman showing up for work in an old west cathouse.
Usually the punisher, Venus was the punished on Sunday on the receiving end of Rezai’s baseline fury, rarely leaving a short ball anything short of a winner. Rezai has now beaten the elder Williams sister in two of their last three meetings. The unseeded Frenchwoman topped two former No. 1s in Justine Henin and Jelena Jankovic en route to the final.
“She played well, congratulations,” said a disappointed Venus after the final.
Venus in 2010 has suffered a number of blowouts, and has shown a disconcerting inability to close out opportunities — such as Sunday, leading 5-2 in the second set, but letting slip six (6) set points before losing the set and the match 7-5.
Other Venus lowlights this year have including losing at the Australian Open to Na Li; getting blown out in the Miami final 6-2, 6-1 to Kim Clijsters; and losing 6-0, 6-1 to Jankovic in Rome. Sister Serena has had a similarly rollercoaster year while some holding onto the No. 1 ranking when as of May playing only four events.
Clijsters will miss the French Open with injury, but otherwise the coin toss that is the battle of former and current No. 1s vying for titles on the WTA Tour will continue in Paris at Roland Garros.
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