Thursday, March 7, 2019 - Venus Williams plays Andrea Petkovic in the 1st round of the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Michael Cummo/BNP Paribas Open)
Venus Williams, seven-time Grand Slam champion and 49-time WTA Tour Title winner, is moving on to the second round of the 2019 BNP Paribas Open. Under the sweltering heat of the Coachella Valley sun, Williams defeated German Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 0-6, 6-3. While Williams had to overcome several periods of shaky play, she rebounded from her mid-match struggles in convincing fashion to dismiss Petkovic from the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
After falling to an early break in the opening set, the 25-year tour veteran Williams found her footing on Stadium 1. She retook the lead at 5-4, closing out the set with powerful service play in the final game.
Although Williams looked to be in fine form, her hopes of a swift victory were quickly derailed by the German. Petkovic, a former WTA Tour top-10 player, would not go down without a fight. In the second frame, she utterly dominated Williams behind the strength of (55/78) 71% success on her first serve and consistent break point conversions. Petkovic won every game of the set, taking a resounding 6-0 advantage to even the contest at one set all.
Williams’ prospects at victory looked bleak, with the 180-degree momentum shift rotating towards the 6-time WTA Tour titlist Petkovic.
What happened next was the stuff of champions. Fitting for Williams, who is one of the greatest victors in the history of our sport.
The 38-year-old turned back the clocks, recovering from a devastating set to reaffirm her place as one of the game’s most infallible competitors. Williams served up flush forehands and backhand winners, beating back Petkovic’s hopes of an upset victory. By the end, she closed out a 6-3 set to continue her stay in the desert.
Williams will look to improve upon her semifinal run at last year’s BNP Paribas Open, as she next meets world No. 3 Petra Kvitova. With the tall order at hand, can Williams turn back the clock once more?