Mattek-Sands vanquishes Venus in San Jose opener

Photo :|31-Jul-2019 14:38

In a clash of wildcards in the first round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, Bethanie Mattek-Sands took out Venus Williams

SAN JOSE, CA, USA - In a first-round battle between wildcards at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, Bethanie Mattek-Sands got the better of Venus Williams under the lights.

From a set down, and later, a break down at 1-0, 40-0 down in the final set, Mattek-Sands won six consecutive games to pull off an upset over the seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-1.

The 34-year-old American scored her first singles victory in over a year, dating back to last year's French Open, with the victory, and also tallied her first singles victory on hardcourts since the 2017 Miami Open.

The former doubles World No.1 won 27 of the last 31 points in the final set, as she scored victory in the first match between the two in seven years, and her first in five career meetings against the former singles World No.1.

"Venus is a legend, and it was awesome playing here. I love night matches," Mattek-Sands said on-court after the match.

"I really loved the atmosphere. I'm really enjoying it. It's been a tough couple of years. I've had a few surgeries, I feel like I've had 12 surgiers, but I'm feeling really good.

"I think I neutralized Venus' serve a little bit. A lot of times she can get some free points on that first serve, so I stood back a little bit, and we were grinding.

"The reason she's such a champion is because she will come up with some good shots, so I wasn't about to take my foot off the pedal there."

An ultra-aggressive Mattek-Sands kept Williams off balance for the duration of the two hour, 21-minute opening round match by utlizing her doubles expertise, including the dropshot and serve-and-volley play.

Mattek-Sands hit 34 winners to just 24 unforced errors in the match, more than keeping pace with Williams' 31 winners and 34 unforced, and won seven of the 18 break points she created. 

After dropping serve to begin the match, Mattek-Sands rallied from a 4-2 deficit to restore parity, as she finally broke through on her compatriot's serve to level at 4-4, on her seventh overall break point chance.

Despite saving a break point at 5-5 to force Williams to serve for the tiebreak, Mattek-Sands' slow start once there cost her dearly: the former World No.31 dropped the first four points en route to losing the first set. 

The current World No.674 raced out of the gates in the second set, however, as she won the first four games en route to capturing her first set against Williams in over a decade - dating back to the 2009 French Open - to set the stage for the decider.

Mattek-Sands advances to face No.6 seed Carla Suárez Navarro in the second round for a spot in the quarterfinals.