Venus Williams bite the dust in Dubai Tennis Championships

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Defending champion Venus Williams beaten in straight sets in the third round

Lucie Safarova celebrates her win over Venus Williams
Lucie Safarova celebrates her win over Venus Williams


Defending champion Venus Williams was beaten 6-4 6-2 by Lucie Safarova in the third round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday. It was her first defeat here since 2005 and ended her winning streak in Dubai at 16 matches, still a record for any player in the WTA event.

“I think she played awesome,” said Venus. “There were a couple of games there that I didn’t even get my racquet on the ball. What can I say to that? I don’t think I played badly, but I couldn’t afford to make any errors today. The errors that I made were really costly, so, you know, credit to her. I wish her the best of luck the rest of the tournament.”

Agnieszka Radwanska was also upset, defeated 6-4 6-2 by fast-rising Spanish star Garbine Muguruza who took advantage of the ailing fifth seed. Radwanska had arrived in Dubai struggling with her health after playing Fed Cup in the chill of her Polish homeland, and playing for the second straight day in the midday sun left her unable to fully rise to the occasion.

“I think when you’re not playing your best tennis then it’s hard to compete with those kind of players,” said Radwanska. “I think I didn’t serve enough, you know, to win that. I think that was really important part in that match.”

Muguruza believes there is always a chance to upset the top players if you work hard and keep your concentration.

“I think that nowadays there are so many girls that play so good that the difference between the top players and the other ones are really small,” she said. “So I think that you have a chance if you work and play and be concentrate and do your game, I think you can beat them.”

Australian and US Open Open semi-finalist Ekaterina Makarova also advanced, beating Zarina Diyas 6-3 6-4.

“The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is always full of surprises, and no player is guaranteed success, even a champion as accomplished as Venus Williams,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, the tournament owners and organizers. “Congratulations to Lucie Safarova for an excellent performance, and we look forward to welcoming Venus Williams back again next year.

“We also congratulate Garbine Muguruza on reaching the quarter-finals. She was the only player last year to defeat both the number one and number two players in the world, and she recently defeated our top seed, Simona Halep, in the Fed Cup. It will be very interesting to see how far she can progress this week.”

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