Australian Open

Venus not in Melbourne for 'kicks, giggles'

2017-01-16 08:24
Venus Williams (Getty)

Melbourne - Veteran campaigner Venus Williams says is not at the Australian Open for "kicks and giggles" after grinding past Ukrainian youngster Kateryna Kozlova in two gruelling sets on Monday.

The American seven-time Grand Slam winner, who turns 37 this year, showed she is still up for a fight after coming through a near two-hour first round marathon 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 in stifling conditions.

The world number 17, who played her first Australian Open in 1998 and turned professional in 1994, the year her opponent was born, said the desire to win was still burning.

"Just like every player here, I have put in a ton of work. I'm not coming all the way to Australia for kicks and giggles. I'm here as a competitor," she said.

"I mean, you saw me out there today, the intensity level and what it takes to win in even a first-round match against a player you may not even know.

"It's hard work. It's not easy. That love is there."

Williams, competing in a 73rd Grand Slam, extending her Open-era record, pulled out of the lead-up Auckland Classic with an arm injury following her first-round match, setting back her Grand Slam preparations.

But she was still too good for the unseeded 22-year-old Kozlova.

The oldest woman in the draw and seeded 13 at Melbourne Park, she battled back in a seesawing first set to take it to a tiebreaker on Rod Laver Arena.

She narrowly got the upper hand to win it with an ace after a tough 67 minutes, pumping her fist in relief before wrapping herself in an ice towel at the changeover.

The second set was equally tight before Williams got a break to make it 6-5 then wrapped up the match, to the delight of the centre court crowd.

"I really have to give her a lot of credit for playing a match that was not a lot of errors and just relentless," said Williams.

"I guess when I walk out there I have to expect that from my opponents... not an easy first round, but a great first round to get through, for sure."

She next faces either Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele or Japan's Kurumi Nara.

Results from the Australian Open on Monday:

Men's singles

1st round

Jeremy Chardy (FRA) bt Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 4-0 ret

Ryan Harrison (USA) bt Nicolas Mahut (FRA) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

Tomas Berdych (CZE x10) bt Luca Vanni (ITA) 6-1 ret

Viktor Troicki (SRB x29) bt Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 2-6, 6-3

Alex De Minaur (AUS) bt Gerald Melzer (AUT) 5-7, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-1

Sam Querrey (USA x31) bt Quentin Halys (FRA) 6-7 (10/12), 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 6-4

Mischa Zverev (GER) bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4

Kei Nishikori (JPN x5) bt Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2

Bernard Tomic (AUS x27) bt Thomaz Belluci (BRA) 6-2, 6-1, 6-4

Victor Estrella (DOM) bt Aljaz Bedene (GBR) 7-6 (9/7), 7-5, 0-6, 6-3

Sam Querrey (USA x31) bt Quentin Halys (FRA) 6-7 (10/12), 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 6-4

Women's singles

1st round

Irina Begu (ROM x27) bt Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 5-7, 6-3, 6-4

Samantha Crawford (USA) bt Lauren Davis (USA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-0

Garbine Muguruza (ESP x7) bt Marina Erakovic (NZL) 7-5, 6-4

Shelby Rogers (USA) bt Simona Halep (ROM x4) 6-3, 6-1

Mona Barthel (GER) bt Destanee Aiava (AUS) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)

Monica Puig (PUR x29) bt Patricia Tig (ROM) 6-0, 6-1

Varvara Lepchenko (USA) bt Kiki Bertens (NED x19) 7-5, 7-6 (7/5)

Duan Yingying (CHN) bt Rebecca Sramkova (SVK) 6-3, 6-4

Julia Goerges (GER) bt Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4

Jelena Jankovic (SRB) bt Laura Siegemund (GER x26) 6-1, 1-6, 6-4

Alison Riske (USA) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 7-5, 6-3

Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) bt Viktorija Golubic (SUI) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4

Sorana Cirstea (ROM) bt Irina Khromacheva (RUS) 6-2, 6-1

Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x32) bt Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-4 ret

Kristina Kucova (SVK) bt Christina McHale (USA) 6-4, 6-0

Venus Williams (USA x13) bt Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 7-6 (7/5), 7-5

Natalia Vikhlyantseva (RUS) bt Vania King (USA) 6-3, 6-2

Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) bt Anna Tatishvili (USA) 6-4, 6-3

Zhang Shuai (CHN x20) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-0, 6-3

Pauline Parmentier (FRA) bt Misaki Doi (JPN) 7-5, 7-5

Read more on:    australian open  |  venus williams  |  tennis


Read News24’s Comments Policy


When all is said and done, who of the 'Big 3' in men's tennis ends their career with the most Grand Slams?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.