Tennis: Venus' mind not on Singapore yet

HONG KONG • Venus Williams raced through her opening match at the Hong Kong Open yesterday, beating Risa Ozaki 6-2, 6-2 but insisted that she was not thinking of the WTA Finals in Singapore yet.

The world No. 5 took just 74 minutes to see off Japan's Ozaki. It was an ideal way for Williams to shake off any rust in her first match since losing to Sloane Stephens in the US Open semi-final a month ago.

Williams punctuated the performance with some trademark power winners and had seven aces to overwhelm the world No. 95.

"Four weeks go by pretty fast and the first match is never perfect," said Williams, who dropped her serve twice. "It was a hard-fought match despite the score and it was a great way to start. I hit a lot of balls and hopefully can play my way into this tournament."

Venus Williams took just 74 minutes to see off Japan's Risa Ozaki at the Hong Kong Open yesterday. The comfortable 6-2, 6-2 win was an ideal way for her to shake off any rust in her first match since losing a US Open semi-final a month ago. PHOTO: XINHUA

The 37-year-old American has enjoyed a magnificent season, reaching two Grand Slam finals to qualify for the WTA Finals for the first time since 2009.

But she said she could not afford to think about the season-ending event in Singapore, which begins in just under two weeks.

"It's not here yet. So this tournament is definitely first in my head," she said. "There's a lot of depth in this draw and I'm going to have to work my way through this."

The second seed faces another Japanese, Naomi Osaka, today.

In Shanghai, Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios apologised and said he had been unwell after he stormed off court to loud boos midway through his opening match at the Shanghai Masters yesterday.

He issued a statement following his abrupt exit after losing the first set 7-6 (7-5) to American Steve Johnson, having been docked a point for the second match running because of his conduct.

The ATP Tour said it had launched an investigation and Kyrgios, 22, who was also hit with a point penalty in losing the China Open final to Rafael Nadal on Sunday, said he was "gutted" to retire.

He said he had been battling a stomach bug and also suffered an injury to his shoulder, which led to him throwing in the towel.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2017, with the headline 'Venus' mind not on Singapore yet'. Print Edition | Subscribe