Australian Open

I’ve never seen Venus Williams play, says China’s Duan Yingying ahead of third-round clash

The pair meet on Friday at the Australian Open with the American great set to breeze past the Tianjin-based 27-year-old

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 January, 2017, 7:46pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 January, 2017, 9:54pm

China’s Duan Yingying on Wednesday said she’d never seen Venus Williams play and will be relying heavily on her coach’s guidance ahead of their third-round clash at the Australian Open.

Despite the seven-time grand slam winner being one of the game’s most prominent players over the past two decades, Duan, 27, insisted she knew next to nothing about the American great.

“I don’t know anything about Venus’s play. I’ve never seen her play,” said Duan, who beat America’s Varvara Lepchenko 6-1, 3-6, 10-8 in the second round.

“I don’t really watch that much tennis so I think my coach will do the job to try to tell me what to do on the court. So I’ll take one day off tomorrow and let the coach do the job.”

It doesn’t augur well for Duan, the Chinese number five who is the last player from her country standing after two days of carnage for her teammates.

On Wednesday Zhang Shuai, who turned heads with her run to last year’s quarter-finals, went out to America’s Alison Riske, and Canadian Eugenie Bouchard dispatched former US Open semi-finalist Peng Shuai.

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Han Xinyun, Wang Qiang, Zheng Saisai and Zhu Lin all fell by the wayside in the first round on Tuesday.

More positively for Tianjin-based Duan, Williams also said she knows nothing about her opponent – and had no plans to find out ahead of their match on Friday.

“I don’t know anything about her. I have never seen her play. Zero, like zero,” said Williams, 36.

“So I’m going to have to see how it goes. Like, maybe get a scouting report in the warm-up when we hit the five minutes and kind of see how it feels.”

Duan added that she did have some idea of how Williams plays. But she said she didn’t intend to change her preparations before facing the former world number one.

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“I don’t think I will change anything because you have to bring your own game. I’ll just focus on my own game,” she said. “I know Venus has a very strong serve and really strong baseline skills.”

She added: “I’ve never played Venus before so I don’t think I’ll have any pressure. I’ll just play my game and I’ll try to play my best.”