ISTANBUL: Top seed Venus Williams’ bid to win the WTA Istanbul Cup ended at the first hurdle late on Tuesday as the American icon lost 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) to Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko.
Venus, ranked 14 in the world, is no stranger to being upset by Bondarenko — the 28-year-old Ukrainian having beaten her when the American was third in the world in Toronto in 2009.
Bondarenko — who retired from the circuit at the end of 2012 before returning two years later — looked to be cruising at 6-4, 5-2 before 35-year-old Williams rediscovered her touch and fighting spirit and battled back to even serve for the set.
However, Bondarenko — a highest ranked 29 in 2009 — woke up from her mini slump and won 11 of the last 15 points to take the match.
“I’m really sad,” said Venus. “I came here to play and to win but I ran into an opponent who was just too hot today.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2015.
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