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Australian Open 2017: Venus Williams rolls into fourth round, Svetlana Kuznetsova wins an epic

Former grand slam champs record contrasting wins to move into the fourth round.

20 Jan 2017, 22:39 IST
Venus Williams has been in top form in this Australian Open

Seven-time grand slam champion Venus Williams breezed through her third round match against China’s Ying-Ying Duan, dropping just a single game in the process. It was a masterclass of power hitting as Williams moved into the fourth round with a 6-1 6-0 victory on Margaret Court Arena.

The American got off to a great start, reeling off five straight games to move up 5-0 in the first set. Williams’s serve was solid in the beginning and was not tested much by Duan, but in the fifth game, Duan had an opportunity to break the serve, but it went begging as Williams took a 5-0 lead.

The Chinese finally got on board in the sixth game but Williams served out the first set to take it 6-1. The first set saw both players hitting an equal number of unforced errors, 13, but Williams got the better of Duan in the winners column with 13 winners compared to just 4 from the Chinese.

The first game of the second set saw a tight battle between the two players, with the game going to three deuces, but Williams finally broke her opponent’s serve and never really looked back as she simply dominated the rest of the set to bagel the lower ranked Duan and move comfortably into the fourth round.

Williams ended her match with a total of 25 winners and 18 unforced errors.

The American next takes on Germany’s Mona Barthel, the current No.181 in the world. Williams holds a 2-0 head to head record against the German qualifier and should she get past the German, she might very well face former grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarter-finals.

Kuznetsova tops Jankovic in a thriller

Svetlana Kuznetsova celebrates her win over Jelena Jankovic

The match between a former World No.1 and former World No.2 is always an exciting prospect and the third round clash between Jelena Jankovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova can be described as no less than an epic!

Kuznetsova, the former US Open and Roland Garros champion, known for her iron will, fought exceedingly well to triumph 6-4, 5-7, 9-7 in three hours and 36 minutes. Both players started the match well by holding their first service games but the Russian drew first blood, when she broke Jankovic in the third game of the match to take 2-1 lead.

Kuznetsova then consolidated her break and broke Jankovic again in the seventh game to take a 5-2 lead and have an opportunity to serve for the set. But as it usually happens even to the best players, nerves got the better of Kuznetsova as she served a double fault and hit a few unforced errors to allow the Serbian back into the set.

Jankovic held serve and made sure that Kuznetsova had to serve out the set for the second time. But this time, there were no hiccups and the latter pocketed the first set 6-4.

The second set started off just like the first, as Kuznetsova broke Jankovic in the third game and the fifth game to take a commanding 4-1 lead. The Serbian then broke back and held her serve and with both players holding their serves, the scoreline read 5-4.

A sudden meltdown from Kuznetsova meant that Jankovic won three straight games to take the set 7-5 and push the match into a decider. While Jankovic equalled the winners and errors with 12 apiece, Kuznetsova doubled the errors, with 24 of them, as compared to 15 winners.

Riding high on confidence after pulling off the second set, Jankovic made a superb start to the final set to take a 3-0 lead. Just when it was looking that the match was swinging the Serbian’s way, Kuznetsova broke back for 2-3.

But the see-saw battle continued as both players broke in succession and finally, Kuznetsova held for 4-4. The next game was a marathon, lasting nearly 10 minutes and after four deuces and three break opportunities, Kuznetsova broke for 5-4 and served for the match.

But it was not yet done, as Jankovic broke back for 5-5 and with both players holding serve, the score read 7-7. The moment came in the 15th game when Jankovic committed some unforced errors and was broken. Kuznetsova then comfortably served out the match to move safely through to the fourth round after a marathon lasting for more than three hours.

Kuznetsova next plays fellow countrywoman Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova whom she leads 5-2 in the head to head. If she gets past Pavlyuchenkova, she might set up a meeting with another veteran Venus Williams in the quarter-finals.

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