Sunday, 22 January 2017

Venus keeps going

The second of the round of sixteen matches for decision on Rod Laver Arena today was to be the 13th seed Venus Williams against qualifier Mona Barthel.
Venus had conquered China's Ying-Ying Duan in the third round, dropping only one game, whereas Mona had significantly more to do in overcoming Australian Ash Barty in three tough sets.
Venus beat Mona both times they played previously, but they were in 2012 and 2013, so not exactly relevant to today.
The winner will play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a quarter final.

Venus won the toss and elected to serve first, and for two games she looked in a different class, holding with ease, and breaking for a 2-0 advantage.
Mona managed to compete better in the third game, and held two break back points on the Williams serve. Venus saved these and went on to lead 3-0.

A love game, sealed with an ace, confirmed that Barthel was now involved in the match and could cause headaches.
0-40 on the next Venus serve with a stream of errors flowing off the American racquet.
All were saved.  A missed simple volley gave Mona a fourth chance and a double fault gave the break to the German. 2-3 and on serve.

Poor serving left Barthel at 0-40.  A Venus forehand pass helped a little too.  Two break points were saved but not the third and Venus once again had the buffer 4-2.

The 13th seed saved a break point in the seventh game but a double fault created another - also saved.  Again a double fault brought with it break point - again saved.
The third time Venus double faulted to present a break point, she failed to save the day, netting a shot and dropping serve. 3-4 for Mona.

An awful game on serve from Barthel yet again and Venus was serving for the set at 5-3.
At last someone held serve, Venus won the set 6-3, but there was hardly anything to be inspired by in that nine games.

Game one of what hopefully would be something better in set two, but Barthel still struggled to gain any consistency with her game.  Somehow she negotiated a pathway to 40-30, but errors put that game point to bed.
Venus helped her out with two shockers and another chance to hold serve existed. It expired when another German attempt went wide.
Finally, on break point a couple of points to savour, including one concluded with a lob winner.  Barthel held serve playing good tennis, and hopefully had expelled all the bad stuff.

Venus held serve easily to make it 1-1, and Mona was similarly impressive in taking it to 2-1.
Both players kept up this new idea of not losing serve, and it lasted until game eight where Barthel led 4-3 and Venus was at the line.  The standard of tennis had improved as a result.

A classic Venus volley and typical forehand ensured a quick hold and 4-4.  The business end of the set was near and Barthel held firm and serve to lead 5-4.
Winners and an ace from the Williams racquet and 5-5 .
A backhand hit long had Barthel in strife at 0-30 and a lucky net cord from Venus brought up three break points.  One was saved but a Williams winner clinched the break and she would serve for the match at 6-5.

The thirteenth seed won through to the quarter final 6-3 7-5.

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