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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Venus power batters Bondarenko

Bondarenko battling

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Photo Titled Bondarenko battling
Kateryna Bondarenko battling to stay in her second round match against Defending champion Venus Williams.

Venus Williams starred in another kind of sister act this afternoon when she faced Kateryna Bondarenko, ranked 73 in the world, for a place in the third round. The older Williams sibling was completely untroubled by the younger Bondarenko sister, winning 6-3, 6-2 in a straightforward display of power tennis lasting just 59 minutes. It was her 16th successive match win at Wimbledon.

The defending champion, now 29, took to the court with a heavy strapping on her left leg above and below the knee. The left is the leg that is key for Venus as she pushes off with her service action – but as she powered down three aces in her opening service game, it did not seem to be causing her all that much difficulty. At 1-1 when reaching for a shot that she dumped in the net, it did seem that she cried out and was on the verge of putting her hand on her leg – but she did not, and the moment passed.

Bondarenko, too, had strapping, although hers was on her right forearm, the one she serves with. She also sported an eye-catching tattoo between her shoulder blades.

As so many find against Williams, Bondarenko was on the defensive from the outset, saving break point in the first game of the match. But it was not long before Venus made the breakthrough. The five-time Wimbledon champion sent a backhand down the line to bring up two break points for 3-2, and Bondarenko sent a forehand way long for Venus to convert the second. Then at 3-5, a massive return from a weak second serve gave Venus set point. Another huge return wrapped up the set.

Venus was watched from the stands by her mother Oracene Price, and also her father Richard Williams, with his new wife Lakeisha Graham. Both parents, of course, play a coaching role in the professional lives of Venus and Serena, but this was the first time observers could recall the two watching a match from the same box since their divorce in 2002.

Richard Williams appeared to see enough to concern him that at 2-1 in the second set he called out: “Come on, Vee!” It seemed more as if 22-year-old Bondarenko was the one requiring encouragement, judging by her body language.

She saved break point for 2-4 with a most wonderful dropshot at the end of a 19-stroke rally, only for successive errors to hand over the tamest of breaks. Venus underlined her superiority with the fastest serve of the day, and within 10 minutes she took the victory with her first match point.

Court 1 - Ladies' Singles - 2nd Round
Venus Williams USA (3)Winner66
Kateryna Bondarenko UKR 32

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