LONDON, Great Britain - Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams recovered emphatically after dropping the first set against Alexandra Dulgheru to move into the third round at Wimbledon.
Williams needed a few games to get going, but once she found her rhythm it was one-way traffic for the American, who notched the 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 victory in just under two hours. The win extends Williams’ second round win-loss record at Wimbledon to an impressive 18-1.
“She definitely played well the first set and I definitely gave her a few errors as well,” Williams explained later in her on-court interview. “I don’t know if I’ve ever played her before, so it’s always difficult to play someone for the first time - I’m sure she’s seen me play a lot.
“She was extremely competitive… The first set was all credit to her, she just played really well and took advantage. That’s what you have to do these Championships.”
Dulgheru, a qualifier who was aiming for her sixth Top 10 career win, made the perfect start by breaking Williams in the very first game, and she kept the No.9 seed under pressure bringing up three more break chances across her next two service games.
Williams finally found her footing late in the set, but couldn’t find any inroads on Dulgheru’s serve and the Romanian comfortably grabbed the opening set.
It was a completely different story in the second and third sets as Williams came roaring back, playing near-perfect tennis to turn the match on its head.
After quickly reeling off four games in a row to start the second, Williams fought off two break points and held serve after a pair of marathon games - both over seven minutes long - to take the set to love and force a decider. In the final set, the American claimed the last five games in a row to close out her spot in the next round.
Up next, the No.9 seed will play No.20 seed Kiki Bertens - who defeated Anna Blinkova 6-4, 6-0 - for a spot in the fourth round.
“I'm going to try to play well,” Williams said. “I don't know what exactly to expect other than to continue to try to improve my game. I've done that in both my matches, just continued to play better and better throughout the match.
“What happens on her side of the net will be out of my control. I mean, it's the third round now. I'm sure she has some momentum and probably will be playing well.”