The Miami Open center court is just an hour away from Venus Williams’ lavish home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Not to mention the previous three titles that the former world no. 1 has in the coveted tournament. And yet, this time her stay in the event was brief and far from fulfilling.
Williams was eliminated on the first day of play on Tuesday by 89th-ranked Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan, 6-2, 7-6 (10).
The 40-year-old Williams, ranked 79th, was making her 21st appearance in the tournament, now held 75 minutes from her residence in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Williams’ most recent title in the event came in 2001 when she beat Jennifer Capriati in the final. She also won the 1998 and 1999 titles.
Venus Williams at 40:The winner, the tiebreak, and the double fault-
Williams may no longer be the world-beater she once was but still remains a crowd-pleaser courtesy of her swashbucking playing style.
Tuesday was no exception. The fans at a reduced capacity Grandstand Court cheered on the Palm Beach Gardens resident as she rallied to tie the second set at 6-all after dropping the first set to 89th-ranked Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.
Wearing turquoise buns in her hair, Williams, a three-time Miami Open champion, showed flashes of her younger self during the second-set tiebreaker. She kept the match alive with a backhand winner to reach 10-10 but then double-faulted, and Diyas held on to win 6-2, 7-6 (12-10).
Also read: The Withdrawal Wildfire: Serena the latest star to back out of Miami Open 2021
Crowds were small for the first day of play and will continue to be. Because of the pandemic, only 750 fans will be allowed on the grounds per session, and the 5,000-seat grandstand will be used for showcase matches.
Andy Murray joins the Withdrawal wildfire-
And so, the tournament will go on without either Williams’ sister. Eight-time champion Serena pulled out after undergoing oral surgery last week. The men’s draw, already minus Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal, lost Murray due to “a freak” injury.
Murray told the Herald he was “gutted” to have to withdraw from the tournament Tuesday morning after suffering a groin injury during his third day in town. He is coming back from hip surgery and had been given a wild card into the event.
“I had no issues while training, felt fine, did some gym work Friday, no problem, and then I woke up about 3 in the morning, felt pain in the groin, not on the side I had my surgery, and when I got out of bed I struggled quite a bit to walk,” Murray said
And while the injury does seem to be subsiding, Murray feels it still is “not enough” for him to compete in Miami.