Rejuvenated Venus sends message to challengers
Monday 22 February 2010
When Venus Williams reached the Wimbledon final last year her left knee was so heavily bandaged that her leg looked like a badly lagged water pipe. The American wore the strapping for much of the season, but when she won her first title for nearly 12 months here at the Barclays Dubai Championships on Saturday she looked a picture of health and fitness.
Williams' 6-3, 7-5 victory over Victoria Azarenka, who is breathing down her neck at No 6 in the world rankings, put the seal on a week in which the 29-year-old has shown she has no intention of letting a younger generation take over yet. Her 42nd singles title, which puts her one ahead of Justine Henin at the top of the list of current players, came in Williams' 700th match and after wins here over opponents aged 20, 21, 18, 22 and 20.
"I really had a hard time last year with my fitness, but I learned how to manage my pain better," Williams explained after her triumph. "It's not easy, especially when you keep playing and you don't get better. This year I am able to get better. As you see, I have no huge horrible strap. I hated that thing. I don't want it ever again.
"I'm doing OK. I feel like I'm moving better and better. Last year it was difficult to move at my best, because I just couldn't. Now I find myself getting faster and faster the better that I feel."
It was the American's strength and ball-striking power that eventually made the difference against an opponent regarded as one of the best up-and-coming players. While the first set was comparatively comfortable for Williams, Azarenka briefly threatened when she recovered from 2-0 down to lead 5-4 in the second before crumbling under the weight of Williams' serve and returns.
*Anne Keothavong, the former British No 1, will return to action in Indian Wells next month buoyed by her form following her return from a serious knee injury making the semi-finals of her first event back on the main Sony Ericsson tour in Memphis before losing 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to Sofia Arvidsson.
Arsenal and Puma unveil world's first left-footed football
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?
WWE Raw results: Brock Lesnar suspended for post-Wrestlemania 31 rampage after losing title to Seth Rollins
WrestleMania 31: The Undertaker begins a new streak after tombstoning Bray Wyatt
Louis van Gaal: Manchester United boss reveals that being a 'slow player' made him a better manager on warts and all documentary
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 3 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 4 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 5 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans