Venus Williams: American Star Has Promising Draw After Upsetting Sara Errani
Nobody knew what to expect from Venus Williams in the Olympics after the veteran American was knocked out in the first round at Wimbledon. An impressive victory over Sara Errani shows the elder Williams sister still has some good tennis left.
Williams looked a lot more like a five-time Wimbledon champion on Monday, knocking out the ninth-seeded Italian in straight sets. It was an encouraging performance, but more importantly, opened up the draw, giving her a chance to make a deep run.
The biggest key was getting back to power tennis. While injuries and illness have sapped some of the pace that once made Williams one of the most feared players in the world, her effort against Errani was a closer to what fans were used to seeing.
She hit 32 winners and served up five aces while dropping just four games. Even more impressively, she broke the serve of Errani six times even though the Italian got 80 percent of her serves in during the match.
All told, Errani didn't actually play a bad match, but simply didn't have enough firepower to hang with Williams. That was a common theme back when the 32-year-old American was a Grand Slam title threat at each of the four majors.
That's no longer the case now, but the victory does give her reason for optimism. Her next match will be against Aleksandra Wozniak from Canada, which certainly falls into the winnable category if she maintains her current form.
The two biggest threats to Williams in her quarter are Angelique Kerber, her likely third-round opponent, and top-ranked Victoria Azarenka. Neither one of those players have the Olympic experience of the American, however.
Can Williams make a deep Olympic run?
Williams won a gold medal in singles 12 years ago and has literally seen it all during her tennis career. Kerber and Azarenka are still young players learning to adapt to the added pressure of high expectations. Azarenka showed that in a shaky Round 1 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu.
Even though Williams would be an underdog in both of those potential matches, it's impossible to count her out after her display against Errani. It will be hard to eliminate her if she can continue to play at that high of a level.
Although Williams' peak years are clearly behind her, she could still have one or two magical runs left in her body. Doing it at the Olympics would be quite the sight to behold for American tennis fans.
If she does pull off a surprising run to the semifinals, there's a great chance her sister Serena will be waiting in the semifinals, just like the good old days.
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