Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Venus Williams ends Wimbledon drought

LONDON — As she left Court 2 at the All England Club after a victory Monday, Venus Williams found her hitting partner and handed him her racket bag. Then, holding a tiny red purse in her right hand, she reached out for a celebratory fist bump.

Hard to believe that Williams, a five-time champion at Wimbledon, had not won a singles match at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament since 2011.

The 30th-seeded American grabbed the final five games to power through the third set and beat 56th-ranked Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

"Of course, obviously, it feels good to win," Williams said. "I mean, it feels good to play well against an opponent who is playing well and advance to the next round. That always helps."

Now 34, and slowed by an energy-sapping autoimmune disease, Williams lost in the first or second round at eight of the past nine Grand Slam tournaments.

At Wimbledon, in particular, everything used to come so easily: She earned the singles trophy in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008.

After a fourth-round exit at Wimbledon in 2011, Williams lost her opening match in 2012. She then missed the tournament for the first time as a professional in 2013, citing a back injury.

Monday, she smacked serves at up to 113 mph (182 kph) — not as fast as she would clock at the height of her powers, but effective enough for 11 aces. That was part of an overall 41-21 edge in winners against Torro-Flor.

Next up for Williams is 41st-ranked Kurumi Nara, who owns a total of two career Wimbledon match wins. Williams has 72, two behind Steffi Graf for third-most in the Open era.

American Sloane Stephens, the 18th seed, had her run of reaching the second week at six consecutive majors — the longest active such streak among women — end with a 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) first-round loss to 109th-ranked Maria Kirilenko.

"It feels like the end of the world now, but fortunately it's not," Stephens said, shaking her head. "So that's a good thing. You've just got to go back and keep working."

American CoCo Vandeweghe continued her strong recent play on grass by beating Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. Muguruza upset Serena Williams at the French Open.

Sam Stosur lost 6-3, 6-4 to Yanina Wickmayer.

In men's play, Andy Murray got off to a strong start in his bid to become the first to retain the title since Fred Perry in 1936.

In keeping with tradition, Murray played the opening match on Centre Court as the defending men's champion and beat David Goffin 6-1, 6-4, 7-5. The No. 3 seed broke Goffin four times, saved the only two break points against him and sealed the contest with his eighth ace. It was his 450th tour-level match win.

Shaquille O'Neal watched in the Royal Box.

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic won the first 11 games and swept to a 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 win over Andrey Golubev in less than 90 minutes.

"A great start," Djokovic said.


Today's key matches

Men: Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Martin Klizan; Roger Federer (4) vs. Paolo Lorenzi; Stan Wawrinka (5) vs. Joao Sousa; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (14) vs. Jurgen Melzer, completion of suspended match.

Women: Serena Williams (1) vs. Anna Tatishvili; Maria Sharapova (5) vs. Samantha Murray.

TV: 7 a.m., ESPN; 11:30 a.m., ESPNEWS; 2 p.m., ESPN2

Venus Williams ends Wimbledon drought 06/23/14 [Last modified: Monday, June 23, 2014 8:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Snell to rejoin rotation Wednesday



  2. For starters: Rays lineup vs Orioles



  3. Alex Faedo, Florida advance to face LSU in College World Series finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — Alex Faedo pitched three-hit ball for 71/3 innings in a second straight strong performance against TCU, and Florida moved to the College World Series finals with a 3-0 win Saturday night.

    Florida’s Austin Langworthy scores on a single by Mike Rivera in the second inning during a 3-0 victory over TCU.
  4. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  5. Rays journal: Jumbo Diaz falters after getting within a strike of ending rally

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday's game got away starting with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning by Rays LHP Jose Alvarado, who was brought in exclusively to face Baltimore's lefty-swinging Seth Smith.

    Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Orioles score four during the seventh inning to give them a 7-3 lead. Diaz was one strike away from working out of the jam before he allowed a two-run double and a two-run homer on back-to-back pitches.