Tennis: Venus keeps Williams flag flying but struggles

Williams celebrates her win over Qiang Wang of China.
Williams celebrates her win over Qiang Wang of China.PHOTO: EPA

LONDON (REUTERS) – Venus Williams continued to fly the family flag in the absence of her sister and reigning Wimbledon champion Serena but suffered a scare against China’s 55th-ranked Qiang Wang in the second round on Wednesday (July 5).

The 37-year-old American, bidding for a sixth Wimbledon title, made a slow start but hit back to win 4-6 6-4 6-1 on a warm and sultry Court One.

Her opponent, playing only her fourth singles match at Wimbledon compared to the 97 contested by Williams, was threatening a shock when she had break points at 3-3 in the second set against the misfiring 10th seed.

But Williams used her experience to steady the ship and levelled the match with a backhand pass before running away with the decider to book a third-round match against Japan’s Naomi Osaka.

Williams, one of only two former champions in the women’s draw, came to Wimbledon under a cloud after being involved in a road traffic accident last month in Florida which resulted in the death of a 78-year-old man.

Her sister Serena, who she lost to in this year’s Australian Open final, is absent because she is expecting a baby.