Venus wins women’s singles at Wuhan Open

Wuhan (China): Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams won her 47th WTA title at the Premier 5-level Wuhan Open here on Saturday as Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza pulled out of the final with an ankle injury when trailing 3-6, 0-3.

Both players came into the tournament less than fully fit, with 35-year-old Williams having a thigh problem, reports Xinhua.

The early goings were close — the unseeded Venus and the No.6 seed Muguruza traded breaks twice in the first seven games, with the American emerging out of that up 4-3 in the first set.

But from there a gap opened and began widening until the 21-year-old Spaniard lost five straight games and was forced to withdraw.

With her latest WTA trophy in Wuhan, Venus collected the 47th WTA title of her career, and more importantly, her biggest in more than five years. Her last title at the Premier 5 level or higher came at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in 2010.

Venus fought hard on her way to the final in Wuhan. She had to rally from 3-5 down in the third set to edge British qualifier Johanna Konta in the quarter-finals 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. She was even down match point during a 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (4) semi-final nail-biter over US Open finalist Roberta Vinci of Italy.

But the former world No.1’s fighting spirit came out every time she was down.

“This is a sad day today,” Muguruza said in an on-court interview. “I’m very sorry I had to retire, but I had a really amazing week here in Wuhan. I felt so much support from the crowd.”

“Also, I really want to congratulate Venus. She’s always such a tough player and she had an amazing week, as well. For sure we’ll play again soon, and it’s going to be a tough match,” she added.

“Congratulations to Garbine for making the final,” Venus said. “I know you had a tough match yesterday. It’s not easy when you don’t play your best, and I probably didn’t have a chance if you felt well.”

Both players are projected to make major moves up the WTA Rankings, with Venus from No.24 to No.14 and Muguruza from No.8 to No.5, her Top 5 debut.