Venus Williams achieves first victory against a top-20 competitor in four years | CNN

Venus Williams achieves first victory against a top-20 competitor in four years | CNN

CNN  — 

Venus Williams showed a strong performance reminiscent of her earlier years, defeating a top-20 player for the first time in four years.

On Monday, 43-year-old Williams emerged victorious against Russian Veronika Kudermetova with a score of 6-4, 7-5 in the opening round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

The 16th seed in the tournament, Kudermetova, was predicted to easily defeat Williams. However, the seven-time grand slam champion had other plans.

The experienced American expressed that the satisfaction from today’s victory comes from all the hard work put into simply being present.

“I made every effort to arrive here as quickly as possible and in the best condition that I could in the limited amount of time. Therefore, it is fulfilling to secure a victory with such short notice for preparation.”

This was Williams' first win against a top-20 player in four years.

In both groups, Williams discovered herself trailing 4-1 and in a disadvantageous position. However, as she has done many times in her career, she managed to fight back.

Williams stated that when trailing by two breaks, she begins to focus on simply holding serve for the remainder of the set. As she gets closer, her thoughts shift to wanting to win each point.

“Today’s game had some significant challenges that I don’t typically encounter, but that’s just part of the sport. That’s what makes tennis so exhilarating.”

Williams will be waiting to find out her opponent for the upcoming round in Cincinnati as she continues to prepare for the 2023 US Open.

In 2019, she achieved a win over a top-20 player at the Western & Southern Open, defeating Kiki Bertens in the second round.