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Venus Williams Loses Cincinnati Opener, Premium US Open Seed
By Anton Lagani, Lawn Tennis Analyst, Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 10:08pm PST USA
Venus Williams Loses Cincinnati Opener, Premium US Open Seed CINCINNATI--Venus Williamsí chances of earning a 16th or better seed at the upcoming US Open hit a roadblock today as the 20th ranked American lost to the 16th seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-7(2-7), 6-3, 6-4 in round one at the Western & Southern Open at Cincinnati, Ohio.

The 34 year old Williams, on the comeback trail from a 2013 back injury and an ongoing energy sapping Sjogren's Syndrome which she revealed in 2011, needed to reach the semifinals or better at Cincinnati to secure a top 16 seed at the US Open.

Venus Williams of the USA
Lawn Tennis
A 16th or better seed at the US Open, which begins August 25th in New York City, would have ensured that Williams would not have faced another player seeded in the top 16 until the fourth round.

A 16th or better seed at the US Open, which begins August 25th in New York City, would have ensured that Williams would not have faced another player seeded in the top 16 until the fourth round.

With Williams seeded at the US Open 17th through 32nd, she most likely barring early upsets will face a player ranked 16th or higher in the first week of the two week tournament in the third round.

In 1997 in her US Open debut, a 17 year old Williams reached the US Open final before losing to a then top ranked and 16 year old Martina Hingis of Switzerland.

Williams won her only US Open titles in 2001 and 2002.

Against Safarova in set one, Williams went down an early break of serve before breaking back at 5-6 to reach the tiebreaker which she would win.

In set two, Safarova continued to center the ball and force Williams to create her own angles. The American; brillant on some points, sluggish on others; would double fault on breakpoint to lose serve in the the only break of serve of the set.

The long Montreal tournament last week where Williams would finish as finalist continued to weigh on her physically as she struck a crosscourt forehand long to drop her opening service game of the final set.

More consistency from Safarova mixed with several additional unforced errors from Williams led to the American trailing 1-5.

Williams however saved three match points at 2-5 and rallied briefly to reach 4-5.

But with Safarova serving up 40-15, Williams hit a backhand down the line wide to end the match after two hours and 29 minutes of play.

Williams finished the day with 25 winners to 56 unforced errors.

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