Venus grinds out win in Aussie Open

Updated: 28 January 2008 14:41 IST

Venus Williams had to dig deep to shake off tenacious Frenchwoman Camille Pin and reach the Australian Open third round with a 7-5, 6-4 win on Thursday.


American eighth seed Venus Williams shrugged off an error-ridden display in the Australian Open second round on Thursday, saying a few mistakes were not going to make her "freak out".

Williams struggled to shake off Frenchwoman Camille Pin, finally booking a third round berth with a 7-5, 6-4 win, but the Wimbledon champion said she could afford to perform below her best in the tournament's early stages.

The Wimbledon champion was unable to dominate Pin, who again showed her ability to push the big names at Melbourne Park after coming within a whisker of eliminating Russia's Maria Sharapova in the first round last year.

"She's really a fighter, so I had to hang in there," Williams said.

Williams was unconcerned at notching up 44 unforced errors and six double faults against the tenacious Pin, ranked number 90 in he world.

"Nothing worries me anymore," she said. "I feel like I know how to play, if I make a few mistakes, I'm not going to freak out. I'm fine, I feel good."

The six-time Grand Slam champion said she was working "nine to five, every day" to improve her game but was not overly concerned at a lacklustre display so early in her quest for her first Australian Open title.

"Whether or not I have my best match or a match that's not so good for me is not something that worries me for the next round," she said.

"Either way, it's just important for me to get to the next round. I feel like I can always play better, even if I play well."

Williams started crisply, breaking Pin's serve but the Frenchwoman stuck with the six-time Grand Slam champion before conceding a service break to lose the first set 7-5 after 47 minutes.

The American's misfiring serve improved in the second set and she finally overcame Pin after 93 minutes after switching tactics and focusing on wrong-footing her opponent, rather than trying to blast her way to victory.

"At first, I think I wanted to rush a little bit too much," she said.

"But finally, later in the second set, I finally realized, 'whoa, she wants to run, well let her run', so it became a side-to-side kind of thing.

"I finally got a little smarter in the last few games, I felt."

Williams will meet India's Sania Mirza in the third round, a player she has met only once before, a straight sets victory in 2005.

"She's a good player, she tries to play aggressive -- looks like she enjoys herself out there," Williams said of her upcoming opponent.

Williams reached the Australian Open final in 2003 and the semis in 2001.

The 27-year-old pulled out with a wrist injury last year, was sent packing in the first round in 2006, and failed to get beyond the fourth round in 2004 and 2005.

Williams was confident she had the weapons to win the Australian Open on her 10th attempt.

"I definitely have the ability to win, that's the good part. So I feel positive in that way," she said.

Topics : Tennis Andy Roddick Lukas Dlouhy Rohan Bopanna Leander Paes Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi Maria Sharapova
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