WUHAN: Venus Williams won her biggest title in five years at the Wuhan Open on Saturday after Garbine Muguruza retired, making her the fifth player to pull out mid-match in the late-season tournament.
Venus took the first set and was three points up when the Spaniard stopped play at 53 minutes, handing the American veteran the 47th title win of her career, and her first victory at a WTA Premier Five event since she beat Victoria Azarenka in 2010 in Dubai.
Wimbledon finalist Muguruza — ranked world number eight, 15 places ahead of American veteran Venus — had a tough semi-final against Germany’s Angelique Kerber, winning in straight sets but falling during the closing tie break and injuring her ankle.
But the 21-year-old said it was exhaustion not injury that made her pull out. “It’s a sad day I had to retire. Sometimes your body’s not recovered,” said the 21-year-old on court after the match.
Venus, who turned pro the year Muguruza was born, was also struggling during the final with leg pain and had both of her thighs wrapped.
She had a gruelling semi-final the day before against her sister Serena’s nemesis Roberta Vinci, and conceded that she would have had a tough match against Muguruza if her young opponent had been in form. “I probably wouldn’t have had many chances if you had been feeling well,” said Venus.
The title win will put Venus back in the top 20 when the new rankings are released on Monday, after entering Wuhan as number 23.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2015.
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