Don’t look now, but Venus Williams is playing some good tennis. Serena’s big sister advanced to the third round of Wimbledon on Wednesday after an uneven start.
Big Sis beat Japan’s Kurumi Nara 7-6 (4), 6-1 to reach the third round of a major for only the second time in her last 10 Grand Slam tournaments.
The 30th-seeded Williams won six straight points in the tiebreaker and ran off six straight games in the second set to beat 41st-ranked Nara on Court 3 at the All England Club.
“In the tiebreaker, that’s when it comes down to who’s going to be more consistent and more aggressive,” Williams said. “In the beginning she was, but, thankfully, I was able to turn it around.”
Williams’ next opponent could be 2011 champion Petra Kvitova, the sixth-seeded Czech left-hander who was playing Mona Barthel later Wednesday.
“I think we both play similar games, really go for it,” Williams said of Kvitova. “She’s one of the kind of players who can get kind of hot against me.”
Williams, winner of seven Grand Slam titles, lost in the first round in her last appearance at Wimbledon in 2012. The only other time she has made it past the second round in her last 10 Grand Slams was at the 2013 Australian Open. She hasn’t reached the fourth round at a major since Wimbledon in 2011.
The 6-foot-1 (1.85 meters) Williams towered over Nara, the shortest player in the women’s top 100 at 5-foot-1 (1.55 meters).
The American served seven aces and had 43 winners. Nara had only five unforced errors, but just 16 winners.
Nara took a medical timeout at the end of the first set and received treatment from the trainer on her upper left leg during the second set.
Williams was several minutes late in arriving on court, and also left the court after the warm-up. She looked sluggish at the start, falling behind 3-0. She then won five straight games, but was broken serving for the set at 5-4.
Nara raced to a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker, but Williams won the rest of the points. Williams was broken in the opening game of the second set, then won the next six.
The second-seeded Li had two early service breaks and was also broken once on her service early in the second set, but took control at 4-2 and then broke the Austrian player a third time in the set.
Serving for the match, Li clinched the win with consecutive forehands to the open court and then a cross-court backhand volley.
Meusburger had only four winners in the match, compared to 33 for Li.
Li, also the 2011 French Open champion, reached last year’s quarterfinals here.