Former world No 1 Venus Williams named Auckland as one of her favorite places to play tennis after clinching her first singles victory since 2021 Wimbledon. Williams, who was awarded a main draw wildcard into the ASB Classic, kicked off her Auckland campaign with a 7-6 (4) 6-2 win over Katie Volynets.
In Auckland, Williams is a two-time finalist - she ended as runner-up in 2014 while she won the title a year later. Last year, Williams competed in four singles tournaments and went 0-4. “This is one of my favorite places to come, I was so excited that I made it here.
I’m happy to get a win today against a great opponent,” Williams said after the match.
Williams: The rain delay made me 'so mad'
The rain stopped the match during the first-set tie-break and Williams admitted to feeling "so mad" when that happened.
"It's hard when you're all fired up and just suddenly you have to stop. I was so mad on the rain break. My coach could barely talk to me so I'm going to try to improve my attitude," Williams said. No break points were seen until the ninth game, when Volynets broke Williams to take a 5-4 lead.
But when the moment came for Volynets to serve out for the first set, she didn't manage to do so as Williams broke back and eventually forced a tie-break. In the tie-break, Volynets had a 3-2 lead before Williams responded by winning four points in a row to take a 6-3 lead.
Williams didn't convert her first set point but realized her second point to take a tight first set. After winning a tight first set, Williams started the second set with three consecutive breaks and a 5-0 lead. Serving for the match in the sixth game, Williams didn't manage to close out the match as Volynets got one break back to cut the deficit to 5-1.
But in the seventh game, Williams broke Volynets again to complete a two-set win. In her next match, Williams plays against Lin Zhu.