Venus Williams rose up to take down World No. 2 Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-4 earlier today in Tokyo. The win was Venus’s first over a Top 2 player this decade. But the 33-year-old admitted that the victory was aided by an ill Azarenka.
“I don’t think Victoria was feeling her best – hopefully she’ll be feeling better and ready for Beijing – Lord knows I know what it’s like not to feel great,” Williams said. “But other than that, obviously it’s great to win today, but the tournament’s not over, it just started, so I have to continue playing well now.”
The oft-injured Azarenka revealed she hasn’t been feeling well all week in Japan hinting maybe it was something she ate.
“I haven’t been feeling well the last few days and haven’t been able to practice,” said Azarenka who lost to Serena a few weeks ago in the US Open final. “It has been very frustrating. But I got out there for the people. Everyone was waiting a long time for this match, so there was no way I wasn’t going to go out there. I appreciate people coming out and paying for the tickets – they should see the players play. And I tried my best. I did whatever I could do today.
“But you have to be at your best to play against a top player like her. So all the credit to her.”
Venus will play Simona Halep tomorrow in the third round.
In the undercard of the day, in a battle of two future stars Genie Bouchard knocked out Sloane Stephens 5-7, 7-6, 6-3. The Canadian Bouchard blew a 5-0 first set lead but came back from 5-3 down in the second to take the set then the third.
“It was definitely an up and down match,” Bouchard said. “I’ve known her since I was 12, and I’ve practiced with her a lot, so it’s always tough playing someone like that – it’s always a bit more mental.
“I was disappointed with that first set, but she definitely raised her level. But then I kept trying and fighting, and even when my level wasn’t quite there, I stayed positive. I think that paid off today.”
Agnieszka Radwanska, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic were also winners.
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