Five-time champion Venus Williams scores a comfortable 6-3, 7-5 victory over rising star Jelena Ostapenko at the Wimbledon Championships in London, England. The Latvian gradually improved throughout the match and seriously challenged to take the game to a deciding third set but the American held her nerve to take a straight sets victory at the All England Club.
The American veteran Venus Williams showed no signs of her age. She relied on her massive service game to overpower Ostapenko, the 13th seed and current Roland Garros champion. She won 78% of the first serve points, including eight aces against the Latvian who had 18 unforced errors to go with her 20 winners. The loss had finally ended Ostapenko’s run of 11 matches unbeaten in grand slam tournaments, starting from her breakthrough championship at the French Open last June.
With her aggressive baseline drives, Ostapenko led 5-4 in the second set and threatened to extend the contest. However, Venus Williams kept her focus on her service game throughout the match that lasted an hour and fifteen minutes. The American converted all of her three break points, with the last one giving her a crucial 6-5 lead in the second set that enabled her to serve out the contest.
Venus Williams ageing like fine wine
Having kept her game face on for the rest of the match, the American finally beamed a smile as Ostapenko sent her return backhand out. It was, remarkably, William’s 100th singles match at Wimbledon, where she had won first back in 2000. At 37, she also becomes the oldest player to reach the semifinals of the tournament since 1994, when a 38-year-old Martina Navratilova reached the final but lost to Conchita Martinez.
On to the semis!
Venus Williams hasn't reached two Slam semifinals in the same year since 2007. pic.twitter.com/S70hQhpJj2
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 11, 2017
Williams fires three aces in first game
Williams started on fire with three aces in her service game and immediately broke Ostapenko. The American held easily in the next game to take a 3-0 lead but Ostapenko found her touch in the fourth game to finally get on the scoreboard.
The American was in her element, though, and she served out another ace for a 4-1 advantage. In the next game, the Latvian looked finally settled in the match, hitting baseline winners against the 37-year-old American. However, Williams didn’t seem bothered too much with it. She continued her impressive serving to go 5-2 up and put pressure on the Ostapenko serve and possibly take the set.
The Latvian managed to hold, though not without a bit of scare. As she went 40-0 up, she let Williams come back to deuce first before finally managing to finish her service game off. Williams then had to serve out the set and she did so without so much of a fuss.
The 5-time winner had played outstanding tennis so far, getting 68% of her first serves in. In contrast, the 20-year-old Ostapenko only got 44% of hers in. Furthermore, Williams took advantage of the Latvian’s second serve to take the opening set which went on for just over half an hour.
Game and first set Venus Williams 6-3.
Job potentially half done on Centre Court.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 11, 2017
Ostapenko hitting her baseline winners
It was an easy hold for Ostapenko to start the second set. Additionally, the 13th seed threatened early as she earned a break point against Venus Williams in the next game. The American saved it, however, en route to taking another two straight points to make a crucial hold. Williams carried her momentum as she broke the Latvian and consolidated the break to go 3-1 up.
Ostapenko struggled with Williams’ serve but had some success on her service game by going for baseline winners. She cut the deficit to 2-3 and earned two break points as she forced the American scurrying back and forth across the baseline. A Williams double fault gave Ostapenko the break back. Growing in confidence, the Latvian then held impressively to lead the second set 4-3.
The Latvian had been dictating play in the past couple of games. She had a chance to put pressure on the Williams serve again but the veteran Williams held rather easily. The next game saw Ostapenko continue hitting her groundstrokes more comfortably. She took a 5-4 lead and put the pressure on Williams to stay in the set. Trailing 15-30, the American scored three straight points to go 5-5, however, and in the next game, proceeded to break the Latvian’s serve.
— Live Tennis (@livetennis) July 11, 2017
Up until this point, the 20-year-old Latvian looked good to take the set. However, the five-time winner Williams dug deep like a true champion and held her nerve. The American then served game to nil to cap a stellar performance infront of a jubilant crowd at Centre Court.