Venus served Bajan ‘love’
Venus was far from her best – yet more than good enough for her fans.
The second Williams sister to visit the country was still No. 1 in the hearts of her Bajan fans despite succumbing to world no.3 Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-3 in their highly-entertaining singles exhibition during the Tennis Pon de Rock series at the Wildey Gymnasium last night.
It wasn’t quite the result the former world no.1 was looking for but that didn’t matter to her near 3 000 strong supporters, who just came to watch yet another of tennis’ royal family put on a majestic show.
And queen Venus didn’t disappoint, neither did her Belarusian counterpart, who seemed surprised at the rousing ovation both she and Williams received upon entering the playing area.
But it didn’t match the response the latter received when she served out her very first game with a ripping out-wide ace towards the trams.
However, Azarenka quickly followed suit, holding via a similar service winner out wide at game point before going on to show a vast array of powerful groundstrokes from either side while pushing the gangly American around the court.
Nowhere was Azarenka’s supremacy more evident than on two successive passing shots; the first coming via a whistling backhand crosscourt winner right before a stunning forehand up the line that put Williams down 5-2 in the second set.
Willliams did manage to hit a massive overhead from the baseline to her fans’ approval, before going all out chasing down a backhand winner that brought the patrons to their feet.
It wasn’t enough to slow the “A-train”. Azarenka had already put her talents on display in the opening set with a series of singeing winners that came as she flattened out all of her shots from the baseline.
Williams competed for the early part of that opening stanza though, as time after time both players simply wowed the fans by trading return passing shots.
But Azarenka eventually went one better, taking a backhand early up the line off Venus’ serve that set up the only break of that first set to put the Belarusian up 5-4.
Azarenka also almost fell into similar trouble on her serve while facing two break points, but managed to come up with a timely ace to take the set before to breaking Venus again in the next game.
Williams actually surrendered two more of her service games after dumping several of her deep groundstrokes in the net, even though she was able to stave off a match point with the world No. 3 serving up 5-2.
The break couldn’t have been any more telling either, with Venus producing a couple of lusty winners, including her trademark backhand down the line and an unreachable forehand crosscourt.
Azarenka was just too good though, sinking an acute angle backhand passing shot at match point to break Venus for the third time in the set.
“I was surprised with how I played because I expected to be a lot worse but it was great to be out there,” said Williams after the exhibition.