CINCINNATI, OH, USA - No.9 seed Venus Williams put together a dominant performance against fellow American Alison Riske, dropping just two games on her way to the second round of the Western & Southern Open.
Venus needed just 66 minutes to wrap up the 6-2, 6-0 victory and improve her head-to-head record against Riske to 3-0, winning all six sets she’s played against her countrywoman.
“The last two matches we’ve played were really well-competed - we’ve had a tiebreaker, we’ve had some 7-5 sets, really close matches” Venus acknowledged. “I know that she’s going to make me hit a lot of balls.
“And the courts are playing really slow, so I have to be patient. On every point I’m like, ‘Venus, just put the ball in the court.’ It’s definitely a practice of patience out here.”
Backing up last week’s round of 16 appearance in Toronto, Venus continued the fine run of form that saw her make a historic runner-up finish earlier in the season at Wimbledon, as well as reach the Australian Open final.
She started off with an early break against the No.46-ranked Riske, playing aggressive from the start to lead 2-0. Riske broke straight back after a tough battle in the next game, holding serve to bring them level at 2-2.
But despite her best efforts, those two games would be the only ones Riske could take off the former World No.1 as Venus broke away, reeling off the next four games to cruise in the opening set.
Unfortunately for Riske, Venus only got better in the second, stepping in and finishing rallies at the net and shutting out her opponent from the rallies. Six games later, Venus finished the match racking up 27 winners to Riske’s eight, and staying in a positive differential with 16 unforced errors to Riske’s 19.
Up next for this year’s Wimbledon finalist is Ashleigh Barty, who defeated fellow qualifier Varvara Lepchenko in straight sets earlier in the day.