HONG KONG: Venus Williams rallied to beat Yuliya Beygelzimer of Ukraine 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 Tuesday in the opening round of the Hong Kong Open.
The third-seeded Williams wore a bandage on her left thigh and looked hampered in her movements. However, she came from a break down three times in the final set to close out the win in 2 hours, 13 minutes.
After leveling for 4-4 in the decider, she held her serve for the first time in the set to take a 5-4 lead before breaking again to secure the win.
“I like easy matches but there are no givens out there, and she came out and played the match of her life and that is what I have to be ready for all of the time,” Williams said. “These are the kind of matches you want to win and then come out and improve on in your next match.”
Williams said she picked up the leg injury en route to winning the Wuhan Open title last month, but that it’s something she can cope with.
“I’m just trying to stay on court and play smart,” Williams said. “The smartest thing to do would be to play two sets.”
Former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic also advanced with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Romanian qualifier Ana Bogdan.
“It was not an easy match. I didn’t know my opponent and it took me some time to figure her out,” Jankovic said.
Second-seeded Angelique Kerber defeated Italy’s Francesca Schiavone 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-3.
Two other seeded players, No. 5 Samantha Stosur of Australia and No. 7 Caroline Garcia of France also earned straight-set victories.
Stosur defeated Japan’s Risa Ozaki 6-3, 6-1 while Garcia brushed aside American Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-3.