Venus swats Konta and age-old question aside

Venus Williams returning a shot during her defeat of Johanna Konta at the Miami Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, to reach the quarter-finals. Defending champion Konta won the first set but needed several injury time-outs, which disrupted her rhythm.
Venus Williams returning a shot during her defeat of Johanna Konta at the Miami Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, to reach the quarter-finals. Defending champion Konta won the first set but needed several injury time-outs, which disrupted her rhythm.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MIAMI • Former world No. 1 Venus Williams was puzzled when quizzed by reporters on her longevity, following her 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Johanna Konta to book her place in the Miami Open quarter-finals.

"I don't see what 37 years old has to do with it," said the American, who turned professional in 1994.

"She couldn't get a rhythm to her game which helped me. But everyone I play makes it tough against me, so there are no easy matches."

On Monday, the seven-time Grand Slam winner exacted revenge on reigning Miami Open champion Konta in a repeat of last year's semi-final that she lost.

Williams, who had won the tournament three times, stormed back from an early deficit to cruise past an opponent who needed several bouts of treatment throughout a match that lasted 2hr 19min.

Perhaps more impressive was that Williams, who turns 38 in June, was able to look so in control despite playing a day after spending nearly three hours on court for her third-round clash against Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, 26.

SHE MADE IT EASIER

I don't see what 37 years old has to do with it. She couldn't get a rhythm to her game which helped me.

VENUS WILLIAMS, who turned professional in 1994.

"You have to fight for every point," she said. "Everyone is so good now. I feel very focused."

Konta's game seemed to totally desert her. She hit just one winner in the second set as Williams began to dominate and send it into a deciding set, which began with the British No. 1 receiving lengthy treatment for a back problem.

"My body didn't adapt to the conditions - it was quite swirly out there - and that puts strain on your body," said the 26-year-old.

"It wasn't so much a back injury. It was a muscle spasm more than anything else. I just wanted to make sure it didn't turn into something serious."

Konta, who has now slipped to world No. 22 from No. 14, added: "You always have to appreciate players who fight through matches like she does, especially considering how long she's been playing."

Next up for Williams today is fellow American Danielle Collins, who defeated Puerto Rico's Monica Puig 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. Collins is two years younger than Konta and Bertens but for Williams, age is nothing more than just a number.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

WTA/ATP MIAMI OPEN

Men's Last 16: StarHub Ch201, 9am Women's q-finals: Ch203, tomorrow, 1am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2018, with the headline 'Venus swats Konta and age-old question aside'. Print Edition | Subscribe