Venus Williams Eliminated by Maria Sharapova at 2013 Australian Open

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2013

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 03:  Venus Williams of the USA plays a backhand in her match against Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain during day six of the Hopman Cup at Perth Arena on January 3, 2013 in Perth, Australia.  (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Paul Kane/Getty Images

Venus Williams has been eliminated from the 2013 Australian Open, after losing to Maria Sharapova in the third round, 6-1, 6-3.

SportsCenter's official Twitter page broke the news on Friday:

Maria Sharapova beats Venus Williams 6-1, 6-3 in a match-up between Grand Slam champions to reach the 4th round of the Australian Open.

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 18, 2013

In a matchup between two of the most high-profile tennis players in recent memory, Williams simply didn't have the game to hang with Sharapova.

The No. 25 seed in the women's draw has never won the year's first Grand Slam, and will now have to wait another year to take another crack at it. At age 32, however, it's unrealistic to expect the older Williams sister to return to the top of women's tennis. 

It's even harder to imagine Venus winning another major after announcing in 2011 that she suffers from an autoimmune disease known as Sjogren's syndrome, "that produces joint stiffness and prolonged fatigue," according to ESPN's Kate Fagan

Though it sounds harsh, her best days are seemingly behind her. She hasn't reached the final at a Slam tournament since Wimbledon in 2009, and she hasn't won a major since Wimbledon in 2008. 

A seven-time Grand Slam champion, Williams is a lock to go down as one of the greatest female players of all time, and certainly one of the greatest Wimbledon champions in tennis history, having won at the All England Club five times in her career. 

Venus is also still a strong doubles contender, playing alongside her sister. The two have won 13 doubles Grand Slams and three doubles gold medals at the Summer Olympics since 2000.

Unfortunately, unlike sister Serena, Venus' individual success at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open has never translated to the clay of Roland Garros (French Open) or the hard courts of Australia. She came closest to winning at Melbourne in 2003, losing in three sets to Serena in the women's final that year.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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