SONY ERICSSON OPEN
Venus Impresses In Tournament Return
by Peter Holehan|
Playing her first tournament singles match since the 2011 US Open, Venus Williams looked spry in dispatching of Kimiko Date-Krumm, of Japan, 6-0, 6-3 in a brisk one hour and 17 minute match on Stadium Court in a women’s main draw first round match.
Williams, a three-time Miami champion, tallied 26 winners, converted on 5 of 10 break points and had five aces hitting the radar gun in the low 120 mph range.
She advances to face No. 3 Czech Petra Kvitova.
In her absence from the court, Williams has been receiving treatment for Sjogren’s Syndrome, a systematic disease that affects the entire body. Some symptoms that Williams has had to deal with include fatigue and dryness in the mouth, eyes and skin.
Making her 13th appearance at Miami, Williams soaked in the moment of her return.
On the onset of match point in which Date-Krumm’s volley sailed too long, Williams dashed to the net to shake hands with her opponent. She smiled wide, spun around in a complete circle and tapped her hand against her racquet high above her head to the sound of the fans’ ovation.
“It was great to be back out there,” said Williams, who withdrew from Auckland and the Australian Open as a result of the illness. “It was definitely nerve racking especially when I know how talented she [Date-Krumm] is and [being] the first match back.”
Williams, who has dropped precipitously to No. 134 and ended the year outside of the top 100 for the first time since 1996, kept a fresh perspective on what it meant just to get back on the court.
“Just being in this tournament is a huge win for me,” said Williams, the seven-time Grand Slam champion. “That’s what I told myself. This is a win. I have nothing to lose. ”
Williams said she never really contemplated retirement upon being diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome. Now, she’s just taking it on a day-to-day basis.
“My game is a lot better for sure,” Williams said. “I don’t go out with expectations of how I’m going to feel that day. I just give my best on that day. That’s how it is. I just do my best and give everything. So that’s what it’s about for me.”
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