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Venus Williams Suffers Her Most Lopsided Defeat At The US Open

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To the joy of the crowd, who gave the winner a standing ovation at the conclusion of the match, a Williams sibling was present at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday night. In contrast to last year, there was no ceremony, no official departure, and no indication of what the future might contain this time. Instead, it was Venus, not Serena.

Even though she is 43 years old and has a knee issue, Venus Williams is still competing and striving, even if her younger sister’s playing days are over after one more tournament at Flushing Meadows in 2022.

Williams had her most lopsided defeat in 100 matches at the Grand Slam competition where she won the trophy in 2000 and 2001 when she was defeated 6-1, 6-1 by Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen in the first round of the US Open.

Williams was greeted with cheers and cries from the crowd, which appeared ecstatic merely to have the opportunity to witness Williams play live. Her red racket bag was thrown over her left shoulder as she moved away, giving a short wave and a smile.

“It was really great to hear the support. I know the fans have been here for me forever, so that’s fantastic to still have that support even more than ever,” said Williams, the oldest player in the field. “So it’s a beautiful thing, and I love the Open.”

Williams had a 21-0 record in the opening round of the competition in her first 21 attempts. But since then, she has dropped three straight first-round matches.

The 26-year-old Minnen was born in August 1997, the month before Williams made her debut appearance in the US Open final. After winning, she launched an uppercut and lifted her arms.

“For me, it was incredible to play a legend like her. I have huge respect,” said Minnen, who is ranked 97th and entered the evening with a 4-12 career record in Grand Slam matches. “To be there at 43 years old, it’s amazing really.”

Williams only expressed the finest praise for her adversary.

“I really have to give credit to [Minnen]. It was just incredible, honestly,” she said. “I mean, if she can play like that, you imagine that she can be in the top 10, or perhaps No. 1, or maybe win a Grand Slam, something like that, if she can play at this level.”

Williams has won seven major titles, including five Wimbledon titles. However, she has exited each of her previous 12 Slam outings in the first or second round, including the All England Club in July when she stumbled in her opening round.

She has played in just 10 matches this season (she is 3-7), down from her total of four in 2022 due to a variety of injuries. The most recent issue is a knee that prevented her from participating in a tune-up tournament in Cleveland a little over a week ago and made her apprehensive about her ability to compete in New York.

She was there, though.

“I have to really thank my doctors for helping me to get here. That in itself was a blessing,” Williams said. “I love playing here. I really gave it my all today. I really played some great shots, but she had some incredible answers to that. I wish I could have been more prepared for that.”

Williams was unable to maintain a point lead against Minnen despite the low 70s temperature and 90% humidity.

Williams, who formerly had one of the most fearsome serves in the game, broke twice in a row as the score swiftly reached 3-0. She failed to win any of her first twelve second-serve points.

Minnen tried her best to throw Williams off balance, especially with drop shots, and it was successful.

“Already when I was 5, 6 years old, she was on TV almost every Slam. She was going so far in every tournament,” said Minnen, who acknowledged feeling jittery before the match because of the opponent and the size of the largest Grand Slam stadium. “She’s always been an amazing player and she still is now. I knew I had to bring my A-game to beat her. Even though she’s a bit older, she keeps hitting the ball very good.”

Venus and Serena exchanged the top spot and the largest prizes in their sport for more than two decades while traveling the globe together, much like siblings can swap clothes or pastimes.

There are inevitably concerns about how long Venus will continue to compete now that Serena, who recently gave birth to her second child, is no longer playing on tour. She has become accustomed to these questions and skilled at deflecting them, and she did so once more on Tuesday when asked whether she would play again this season or in the future.

Was going to Flushing Meadows without her sister difficult?

“I mean, I was very much aware that Serena wouldn’t be playing the tournament, so I think I was OK. I’ve had a chance to get used to that idea even before she retired,” the elder Williams said. “I kind of knew that was coming.”

As far as her plans the rest of the year: “I don’t know what I’ll do this fall. Definitely too soon to say.”

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