Venus Williams, a former World No. 1, defeated No. 16 seed Veronika Kudermetova in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5, in the opening round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, earning her first Top 20 victory in four years.
Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, hadn’t defeated a Top 20 player since Kiki Bertens in this competition in 2019. Williams went on to lose her next eleven matches against Top 20 opponents after that triumph. Despite two rain delays, the 43-year-old reestablished herself in Cincinnati by defeating Kudermetova in just under two hours of play.
“Definitely satisfaction from today is [from] all the work that goes into just being here at all,” WTA quoted Williams as saying after her victory.
“I did my best to be here as soon as possible in the best form possible I could bring in that amount of time. So that makes it satisfying, to be able to get a win with very little time to prepare,” she added.
On Monday, Kudermetova led both the first and second sets 4-1. In fact, the World No.16 had two set points in the second set to tie the match at one set apiece, one at 5-2 and another at 5-3.
It was Williams’ first victory on the tour since defeating Camila Giorgi in the Birmingham Open first round in June, but she rallied to win in straight sets on both occasions. In their first match, Kudermetova outshot Williams 16 to 9, but her 33 unforced errors were more than double Williams’ 15. Williams scored six of her nine break points in the victory.