By Anita Stahl

  • Venus Williams defeats Heather Watson 6-4, 4-6, 6-0
  • Williams faces Maria Sakkari in quarterfinals
SAN JOSÉ, USA- Venus Williams defeated Heather Watson 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 for a spot in the quarterfinal round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San José, California.

 

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Venus Williams def. Heather Watson 6-4, 4-6, 6-0

Venus Williams in the second round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, WTA San Jose 2018

Venus Williams in the second round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, WTA San Jose 2018 | Anita Stahl

The final set score does not do justice to the battle Heather Watson fought in her match against Venus Williams Thursday at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic. The match was characterised by long rallies of hard ground strokes that Watson peppered with occasional drop shots. While Williams kept Watson on the run, Watson did run down every ball and returned it to Williams in a low fashion that forced the tall American into awkward angles.

After a convincing second set from Watson, Williams returned to court with renewed energy. Throughout the evening match, her serves routinely exceeded 115 mph. Over the course of the match, Watson’s first return points won percentage was 24%, compared to Williams’s 45%. Down one break at 0-3 in the third, and Williams with the advantage after the second deuce, Watson served an ace. That game would go to deuce three more times before Williams finally ran away with it and the rest of the match.

After the match, Watson told Britwatch:

“In third I think Venus really just raised her level, I don’t think I did much wrong or changed dramatically. I don’t really even remember her missing a ball in the third set. I just thought she played too good.”

In the third set, Watson’s first serve percentage dropped from 75% and 71% in the first and second, respectively, to only 61%. Watson is well aware of her percentage this tournament. Asked why she chose to receive after winning the coin toss, she explained:

“Usually I’d choose to serve, but in my first match my first serve percentage was so low that I thought today I’d play myself into it and that’s why I chose to receive.”

Watson has little time to dwell on Thursday’s defeat, as she and Mihaela Buzarnescu face Johanna Konta and Shuai Zhang in doubles on Friday.

Play continues at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at 11am (7pm BST)

 

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