Auckland - Venus Williams pulled out of the Auckland Classic
with an arm injury on Tuesday just hours after "feeling old" in
overcoming unsung teenager Jade Lewis 7-6 (7/2), 6-2.
The world number 17 issued a brief statement saying she
could not continue after winning her first-round match.
"I love this tournament and I'm really sad that I have
to withdraw," said the American, who was ranked 1 082 places ahead of the
18-year-old New Zealand wildcard who was playing her first WTA match.
Tournament director Karl Budge said she felt pain through
the match in her right arm.
Lewis, a niece of 1983 Wimbledon finalist Chris Lewis, had
two chances to serve for the first set at 5-4 and 6-5. She also held set point.
But the 36-year-old Williams shrugged off the pressure to
break twice, take the tie-break 7-2 and cruise through the second set.
"The first match of the year is never perfect,"
Williams said after the match.
"But I'm happy to be into the next round and playing
another teenager. I'm just feeling old."
Venus, seeded two, had been scheduled to play Japan's Naomi
Osaka, 19, later on Wednesday in her second-round match while her sister and
number one seed Serena was due to face fellow American Madison Brengle.
Williams and Lewis were on serve at 2-2 in the first set
Tuesday when rain forced the match to be held over. At the restart on Wednesday
both players struggled to hold serve with six breaks in the first set.
The second set was more lop-sided although Lewis did manage
one more service break when Williams was 5-1 up.