The rain was not enough to deter the 15,000 spectators who came to see Venus Williams in Wimbledon at the Centre Court, just days after her sister Serena’s emotional win over Aravane Rezai of France with a score of 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 on Tuesday. Serena, thankful that she won her first return match in Wimbledon, later acknowledged that she could have done better in her match with Rezai.
Venus is clearly on top of her game, however, taking on a few minutes to set her rhythm, despite the fact her 40-year-old opponent, Kimiko Date-Krumm presented a formidable foe, racing to a 5-1 lead in the beginning of the match.
“It took me a while to adjust in the first set,” Venus explained. “She hits every ball basically on the baseline, hard and flat. If you get it anywhere near midcourt, she hits for the corners and comes to the net. I thought she played unbelievable today. I thought she had some luck on her side, too. But I was very serious about trying to win, even at 1-5 down in the first set. Even down, was it 2-6 in the tie break, I was still trying to win that set.”
Date-Krumm served one accurate shot after another, briefly allowing Williams to save four set points before scoring another hit with a forehand for a 27th point on the set, before Venus threw a backhand in the net. Venus managed to break the lead in the third set but Date-Krumm countered with powerful volleys and passing shots. It was only when the opponent started showing signs of fatigue that Venus managed to grab the lead on the way to her win. She acknowledged the tough match that Date-Krumm, who left tennis for 12 years to become a homemaker, served.
“I thought my movement was really good and I was competing well,” Venus added. “Because, let me tell you, she was really competing well. On big points, she was hitting all kind of shots on the line. So when you play an opponent like that, you just have to get into that competitive mode and compete, whatever happens.”
“I’ve had a ton of extra time to be in the gym in the last five months,” Williams added. “So it’s been too much gym time. I needed that win and I’m glad it worked out for me.”