Yarra Valley Classic – Venus Williams sets up eighth meeting with Petra Kvitova

There are things you can rely on happening year in year out, one of those is Venus Williams beginning the year with a win.

The American who is now 40 years old has rubbished talk of retirement and plans to be out here for some time and judged on her opening round win at the Yarra Valley Classic she means business.

Just to put it into context, Venus Williams has been playing on the tour and turned professional at the age of 14 in 1994 which was the year I was born!

In lockdown we were treated to daily workouts on Instagram from Venus and friends including a topless Grigor Dimitrov making Vee faint.

It was a great match to watch against Arantxa Rus to kick off the former world number ones season in good style.

Venus played superbly well in 62 minutes out in Melbourne, her serve was pretty much spot on throughout when she got it into play. She ran away with the first set winning in 6-1 and in the second got that early break and didn’t give hardly anything away.

Her opponent Rus, however, was quite erratic during the match. We did see some nice lefty forehands when she could step into the court but the pressure from Venus kept that at a minimum for the Dutch star hitting 10 winners but 25 unforced errors.

Venus hit a more cleaner game, with 18 winners and 18 unforced errors as well as jumping on 4/7 break points she had a view of. Venus at 5-3 went for it again and didn’t let Rus settle into a rhythm and forced the error to win 6-1 6-3 to open her season.

Arantxa Rus did have opportunities, seven of them in total to break Venus but couldn’t find a single way through.

It was lovely to watch Venus in her first match of 2021 and first in 4 months but one thing I have missed is listening to her post match interviews. As she walked up the microphone she said to Casey Dellacqua “I like the microphone, I feel like I’m about to sing my single”

Sadly we didn’t get a number from Venus but she will now set up meeting with Petra Kvitova. Petra has won four of their current seven meetings but Venus has won their last two in three tough sets.

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