It was a mixed day for the Williams family at the Cincinnati Masters. Venus began the day with one of her best wins in quite a while knocking out defending champion Kiki Bertens 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(4).
Venus led big in the third before Bertens came back. But the 39-year-old hung on for the win.
“I’m playing at home and we know [Bertens is] playing great tennis, so that was cool,” said Venus. “For me, it’s just round by round. I have a third round to play. To be honest, every player I play plays amazing. She was no less than that.”
“It was pretty hot,” she added. “You just have to keep focused on hopefully keeping your feet going. I’m not sure how she felt about the heat, but, you know, I think we were playing at probably the toughest slot during the day. We had to be superheroes out there.”
Serena was scheduled to play in the evening but due to her back she had to withdraw.
“I am so sad to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open as it is truly one of the tournaments I most love to play,” Serena stated. “I came to Mason on Sunday and have tried everything to be ready to play tonight, and was still hopeful after my practice this morning. But unfortunately my back is still not right and I know I should not take to the court.
“I really want to thank tournament director Andre Silva and the WTA for giving me every chance to play, and I also want to thank all the amazing fans here in the Cincinnati area for their support – it means so much. I promise I’ll do my best to be back here next year.”
Former champion Garbine Muguruza continued her tailspin falling to Madison Keys 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-4.
“It’s really great,” Keys said. “Obviously losing last week in two tiebreaks in the last two sets was really, really tough, so being able to get that second set and then closing it out without going to a tiebreak in the third was really great.”
Keys had lost her last 3 matches entering.
2013 winner Victoria Azarenka did advance via retirement over Belinda Bencic 6-4, 1-0. The Swiss succumbed to a left foot issue.
“I know all about injuries and how frustrating it is, and especially right before the last major of the year,” Azarenka said. “I hope [Bencic] recovers quick.”
In the big night with, with Serena out it was Petra Kvitova going down to Maria Sakkari 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
On Wednesday, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Ash Barty and Sloane Stephens all make their debuts. Barty will meet former champion Maria Sharapova.
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