Venus Williams sparkles as she cruises past Japan’s Ozaki into round two of the Hong Kong Tennis Open
American veteran in a dominant mood as she books her place in second round
Just as she did in the opening round 12 months ago, Venus Williams brushed aside Japan’s Risa Ozaki to claim an easy 6-2, 6-2 win in the opening round of the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open on Tuesday.
The evergreen 37-year-old needed just 75 minutes to stave off the world number 95’s challenge on centre court.
No.2 seed ousts Ozaki 6-2, 6-2! pic.twitter.com/fqlgggYsTy
— WTA (@WTA) October 10, 2017
“I played her in the first round last year so, although I didn’t know too much about her style of game, I knew she was a good retriever and she could play some offence when she wanted to,” Williams said afterwards.
“I think she was very focussed out there – she fought. She had a couple of games were she held her serve and had service breaks. I have to give her credit for that.”
Williams, the world number five, was at her dominant best in wrapping up the opening set inside 40 minutes as her opponent struggled with an apparent back injury, which required a lengthy medical timeout at 5-2.
The American has enjoyed a fantastic 2017 in which she has reached the finals of the Australian Open and Wimbledon as well as the semi-finals of the US Open. She sent down seven aces on her way to the second round, where she will again meet a Japanese opponent in the shape of Naomi Osaka.
Asked if there was any key to her resurgent form in 2017, Williams said she had just continued to prepare professionally.
“I’m trying. I’m always trying,” said the seven-time grand slam champion. “As an athlete – as a player – you always want to do things better. You have to or you become a relic. So every single moment I’m trying to prepare better.”
WEDNESDAY’S ORDER OF PLAY
Shelby Rogers (US) vs  Daria Gavrilova (Australia)
Naomi Osaka (Japan) vs  Venus Williams (US)
Not before 7pm
Samantha Stosur (Australia) vs  Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland)
Eugenie Bouchard (Canada)/ Shelby Rogers (US) vs Julia Glushko (Israel)/Priscilla Hon (Australia)
Lu Jiajing (China)/Qiang Wang (China) vs  Makoto Ninomiya (Japan)/Renata Voracova (Czech Republic)
Not before 4pm
 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) vs Jacqueline Cako (US)
 Chan Hao-ching (Taiwan)/ Chan Yung-jan (Taiwan) vs Zarina Diyas (Kazakhstan)/Misa Eguchi (Japan)
Jacqueline Cako (US)/Valeria Savinykh (Russia) vs Monique Adamczak (Australia)/Chang Kai-chen (Taiwan)