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Venus Williams a factor at Wimbledon; Kvitova next

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm •  Published: June 25, 2014
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LONDON (AP) — Let others wonder when or whether Venus Williams might move on from tennis. She's not ready to contemplate going anywhere just yet.

Even as her early losses accumulated, even as Williams got older and was forced to deal with health issues, she never entertained the idea of quitting.

Here she is, at age 34, once again a factor at Wimbledon, site of five of her seven major titles. And there's a matchup against another former champion looming.

Williams overcame a slow start Wednesday for a 7-6 (4), 6-1 victory over 41st-ranked Kurumi Nara of Japan to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament for only the second time in her past 10 appearances.

"I don't like watching it on TV. I want to be out there. I'm not about the easy thing. Life is a challenge. For me, when I leave tennis, I want it to be on my own terms. I want to know that I rose to every challenge. I want to look back with no regrets," Williams said. "Everyone messes up. Everyone chokes. Everyone gets tight. Everyone loses matches they should have won. But as long as you walked out there and you gave it your all, you can look back with no regrets."

Williams, a former No. 1 who is seeded 30th, revealed three years ago she was diagnosed with an energy-sapping autoimmune disease.

A year ago, she skipped Wimbledon because of a back injury. She hasn't been to the fourth round at a major since 2011 at the All England Club. But the American will return to that stage if she beats that year's titlist, Petra Kvitova.

"She likes to play on the grass," Kvitova said, "and I'm totally the same."

Williams fell behind 3-0 against Nara, then started finding the mark. In the tiebreaker, Williams again began poorly and trailed 4-1 before grabbing six points in a row for the set.

Nara, 22, spoke about this being a "very special" occasion for her, because she watched Williams on television "when I was a child."

A reporter asked Williams about being the oldest woman left in the tournament, and she jokingly pumped her fists.

"Wisdom has served me well," said Williams, who later returned to Court 3 to win a first-round doubles match with her sister Serena. "I've worn my sunscreen, so I haven't aged terribly. My knees are very tight, not saggy. And the crow's feet have been kept at bay. So I'll give myself an A-plus."

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