Sports, Tennis

Ostapenko knocks out Venus Williams in Birmingham

Published : 23 Jun 2023 08:14 PM | Updated : 23 Jun 2023 08:14 PM

Venus Williams narrowly failed to reach her first WTA quarter-final in four years as the American legend was beaten by Jelena Ostapenko in the second round in Birmingham on Thursday.

Williams had enjoyed her first victory over a top-50 opponent in four years on Monday when the former world number one beat Camila Giorgi in her Birmingham opener.

But the 43-year-old, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, was unable to make it two in a row as she succumbed to a hard-fought 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 loss to Latvia's Ostapenko on the Edgbaston grass.

Williams briefly rolled back the years when she saved a match point at 3-5 in the second set, then reeled off three successive games as second seeded Ostapenko lost her rhythm.

After Williams moved 2-0 ahead in the deciding set, it appeared the five-time Wimbledon winner might be on course for the last eight.

But Ostapenko, a former Wimbledon semi-finalist, recomposed herself and eventually shattered Williams' hopes of a morale-boosting run at Birmingham ahead of the start of Wimbledon on July 3.

"Of course I could finish it a bit quicker. I got a little bit disappointed after the match point in the second set. But Venus is a great player, a great champion and it's an honour to share the court with her," former French Open champion Ostapenko said.

"She's a very dangerous player, especially on grass. She was serving really well.

"It was a little bit hard, but I'm really happy that I managed it and I was fighting until the very last point. She's an idol for a lot of people so it was very special."