Safarova Survives Duel With Venus

Lucie Safarova scored her first win over Venus Williams in a tight three-setter in the first round of the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday.

Published August 12, 2014 12:14


Embedded code:

CINCINNATI, OH, USA - No.16 seed Lucie Safarova got past Venus Williams in a thrilling first round match at the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Cincinnati right here on wtatennis.com!

The Plot
Williams came into Cincinnati riding a wave of confidence. Last week en route to a runner-up showing in Montréal, she beat Angelique Kerber, Carla Suárez Navarro and sister Serena Williams for her first win over a World No.1 in over five years. She also returned to the Top 20 for the first time since March 2013.

But would fatigue be a factor for Williams? Her Cincinnati campaign was starting against dangerous lefty Safarova just two days after her Rogers Cup run that featured three three-setters.

The Turning Point
Sure enough, this one went three sets as well. The first set saw the players trade holds through 10 games and then trade breaks to force a tie-break that Williams cruised through. Safarova turned the tide in securing the second set's lone break at 3-2 and eventually forced a deciding set.

Safarova raced out to a 5-1 lead in that final set before things got complicated. Williams held for 5-2, and then on her second match point at 5-3, Safarova forced an apparent Williams error and was ready to celebrate when Williams challenged the preceding shot Safarova had hit. It turned out it was barely long, and Safarova had to regroup and try to close it out again.

But Williams eventually broke and held, and Safarova got another chance to serve it out. Other than one double fault, it was a perfect game, and she finally got to celebrate her 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4 win.

By the Numbers
In that second set in which she grabbed the momentum, Safarova converted on her lone break chance, while Williams was zero out of four. That led to Safarova's first victory in five meetings with Williams, though this was their first since the 2010 Australian Open.

"Venus is a great player," Safarova said. "She has performed really well lately. I knew I had to be sharp and fight hard. I think it was a great match, and I'm happy to get my first win over her."

"It was definitely a quick turnaround," Williams said. "But she just played so well. No matter what shot I hit, she hit a winner, or if I hit it really deep, she somehow managed to control it down the line. I think she got a little tight at 5-1, so I had some chances to come back, but that's a deep hole. Sometimes it's just tough to play opponents who are hitting everything off every shot. She managed to do that today."

What's Next
Safarova takes on Kazakhstani Zarina Diyas, who beat fellow qualifier Irina-Camelia Begu in two tie-breaks. Safarova won her lone previous encounter with Diyas in straight sets.

Share this page!

Related news

  • Kvitova Back Into New Haven Quarterfinal

    August 24, 2016
    Defending champion Petra Kvitova kept her bid for a fourth Connecticut Open title firmly on track as she powered past Eugenie Bouchard to book a spot in the quarterfinals
  • Refreshed Halep Heads To US Open

    August 24, 2016
    WTA Insider David Kane | Simona Halep is dreaming of a major breakthrough in Flushing Meadows, and has looked wide awake through an imperious summer hardcourt swing.
  • Vinci Vaults Past Konjuh In New Haven

    August 24, 2016
    No.2 seed Roberta Vinci made her way to the quarterfinals of the Connecticut Open for the first time after a 6-2, 6-2 win over Ana Konjuh.
To The Top