Venus Williams ignores Court Three snub to secure 90th Wimbledon win

41-year-old sees off Mihaela Buzarnescu in three epic sets to progress to second round

Veuns Williams is through to the second round at Wimbledon. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty

Veuns Williams is through to the second round at Wimbledon. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty

 

Five-time Wimbledon singles champion Venus Williams defied her age to secure a 90th victory at the Championships with a three-set success over Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Placed on the inconspicuous setting of Court Three, the 41-year-old brushed off that snub to win 7-5 4-6 6-3 in a marathon first-round encounter which lasted two hours and 37 minutes.

A mixture of aces, powerful winners and fine defence saw the oldest player at the All England Club extend her love affair with the grass courts there after the wet weather on Monday had seen the match pushed back a day.

The duo had only met once previously but it was another first-round epic that lasted more than two hours at the Australian Open in 2019.

Williams eventually progressed on that occasion and the early exchanges suggested the crowd were in for the long haul again with Buzarnescu unable to make the most of two break points in the third game.

Both players continued to be strong on serve but the American was forced to show plenty of mettle towards the end of the set.

A further four break points came and went in the 11th game for Buzarnescu, who sat with a towel over her head after Williams could hold and the former SW19 winner showed her class when two set points were forthcoming soon after with the second taken to clinch it 7-5.

Following warm applause for her opponent, the Romanian responded positively and earned a break at the start of the second — helped by two double faults from the seven-time singles grand slam winner — but could not make the most of three more in the third game.

While further opportunities were presented to both, one break proved enough for the world number 160 to level despite an exchange with the umpire over an out call towards the end of the set.

Williams needed a strong start in the decider and managed to hold from another tricky situation before she broke.

Using all of her experience, Williams was able to frustrate Buzarnescu and mix up her game with some neat net play before a second break ensured she was almost over the line.

Typically the 33-year-old fought back, but Williams, after thwarting several more break points, eventually closed out to win in front of mother Oracene and sister Isha and set up a second-round meeting with 21st seed Ons Jabeur.

There is also the small matter of the mixed doubles with Australian Nick Kyrgios later in the week with the former world number one not ready to bid farewell to Wimbledon just yet.

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