Wimbledon 2014: Venus Williams beats Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor to equal Virginia Wade's 75th win
Monday 23 June 2014
On Wednesday afternoon Venus Williams will take on Kurumi Nara of Japan in the second round of the women’s singles, a match secured via an opening day victory in three bruising sets against Spain’s hard-hitting Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor. It will be the elder Williams 88th singles outing at Wimbledon, taking her above Virgina Wade and will mean only three women and one man have played more matches here in the open era.
Monday saw her equal Wade and win her 75th match. Martin Navratilova, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King, as well as Jimmy Connors, are in three figures and all but of reach for Williams, who celebrated her 34th birthday last week. Her career is on the wane, a decline quickened by her battle with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that can leave her exhausted and restricts her training, but she plays on because it remains a sport she says she is in love with – and the evidence for that is there in her continued enthusiasm for playing doubles alongside side Serena.
It was in 1997, when Monday’s opponent was five, that a 17-year-old Williams made her Wimbledon debut. Five titles followed but her recent record has been one of diminishing returns. Since losing to Serena in the 2009 final – a year after her last victory (also against her sister) – she has been knocked out earlier and earlier culminating two years ago in her first first-round exit since that teenage debut.
She missed last year with a back injury and, unlike her younger sister, arrived here accompanied by no great expectation and a seeding of 30. She has had an indifferent year, winning in Dubai but illness has restricted her recent outings. She will feel much better after Monday, which turned into a good work out, and an unexpectedly tough one, to open her 17th Wimbledon.
At 22 Torro-Flor, a Spanish clay courter, is playing only her second Wimbledon. She hits the ball hard and traded blows with Williams through a tight first set that went Williams’ way when Torro-Flor double faulted on the only break point. The Spaniard converted one of her two break points in the second to take it to a deciding set where Williams’ power finally told. She broke in the fifth game and then to love in the seventh and swept through the final set in 29 no-nonsense minutes.
"It was great," said Williams. "My opponent played amazing. It was definitely a challenge today. She was playing inspired tennis. It feels good to win. It feels good to play well against an opponent who is playing well."
Morgan Schneiderlin to Manchester United: Saints yet to receive 'serious offer' but midfielder could complete move by end of this week
Sergio Ramos to Manchester United: Real Madrid defender 'wants' Old Trafford switch
Radamel Falcao to Chelsea: Former Manchester United striker 'signs contract' to join Blues and is told to meet up with squad on pre-season tour
Venezuelan TV host gets completely naked while reporting on Copa America win over Colombia
Manchester United transfer news: Javier Hernandez nears exit as Liverpool eye move for striker despite revealing Real Madrid video
- 1 Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Why it matters 26 million people have changed their Facebook profile picture to a rainbow flag
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato