Venus Williams injured in Australian Open loss

Venus Williams
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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — This was, in some ways, rather difficult to watch: 40-year-old Venus Williams gasped and groaned as she limped around the court at the Australian Open on an injured right ankle and left knee.

This also was, in some ways, rather inspiring to watch: Williams refused to concede to the pain, declined to stop playing and toughed it out. She saw the second-round match through to the end, no matter how compromised her body was after two medical timeouts, no matter how non-existent her chance of victory was.

After getting hurt heading to the net for a volley while down 5-1 in the opening set of a second-round match Wednesday, Williams would not — could not, in all likelihood — win another game at Melbourne Park and was eliminated by Sara Errani of Italy.

The final score was 6-1, 6-0.

“Screams of pain and frustration,” was posted on Williams’ Instagram. “Sometimes you have to let it out. Sometimes you work hard and don’t get the result, but you live to fight another day. … I will be back as soon as I can. … I will let you know how I am doing tomorrow.”

Also Wednesday, Venus’ younger sister Serena swept her second-round opponent in her best Grand Slam start in five years.

The highest seeds to lose Wednesday were No. 8 Bianca Andreescu and No. 9 Petra Kvitova.

Andreescu, the 2019 U.S. Open champion, was knocked out of her first tournament in 15 months after a long injury layoff. Crafty 35-year-old Hsieh Su-wei swept the powerful Canadian 6-3, 6-2, advancing to play Errani. Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champ, fell to Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.

The top man to fall was 2014 Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka, 7-5, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 7-6 (9) to Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Simona Halep advanced while dropping a set. No. 3 Naomi Osaka swept her second consecutive opponent. Polarizing Australian Nick Kyrgios capped the night with a five-set win over Frenchman Ugo Humbert, advancing to play No. 3 Dominic Thiem in the third round.


There was no quit in Venus Williams — much like there hasn’t been for years for someone who has played while dealing with Sjogren’s syndrome, an energy-sapping auto-immune disease that can cause joint pain.

“I thought she would retire, because she wasn’t running. She was walking badly. … I was worrying about her more than thinking about how I should play,” said Errani, the runner-up at the 2012 French Open. “I was thinking, ‘Who knows? Maybe at a certain point she’ll say enough is enough.’ But instead, she continued right up until the end.”

The oldest woman in the field, Williams was playing in her 21st Australian Open and 88th Grand Slam tournament overall, a record for the professional era.

She has won seven major singles championships and another 14 in doubles with her sister, Serena.

Through her long and distinguished career, Williams never has been much of a fan of discussing injuries or blaming setbacks on them. And so while it seemed clear to others that she was going to have to stop playing against Errani, that never did happen.

Errani was in control of the match when Williams twisted her right ankle and landed awkwardly on her left leg, which already was bandaged with athletic tape and buckled.

She reacted with audible sounds of dismay as she shuffled around the back of the court, trying to test her legs. It looked as if she could not put much weight on either, and she tried leaning on her racket as though it were a cane.

“I was a bit shocked,” Errani said.

Action was halted, and a trainer treated Williams on the sideline, first taping the troubled ankle, then the knee.

Soon after play resumed following a delay of more than 15 minutes, that set was over. Williams returned to her changeover seat and bowed her head, resting it on her arms.

She would continue, however, even if it appeared to be a chore to walk. Even if her usually speedy serves often were tapped in at about 65 mph instead of 100 mph or more. Even if she could not properly chase all of the many drop shots that Errani kept using to win points.

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Fred Kerley wins 100m at Rabat Diamond League in early showdown

Fred Kerley

World champion Fred Kerley won the 100m in an early season showdown at a Diamond League meet in Rabat, Morocco, on Sunday.

Kerley clocked 9.94 seconds, beating a field that included Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala, who remains the world’s fastest man this year (9.84 from May 13) and world bronze medalist Trayvon Bromell. Omanyala was third in 10.05 on Sunday, while Bromell was fifth in 10.10.

Kerley has run three 100m races this year and broke 9.95 in all of them, a promising start as he bids to repeat as world champion in Budapest in August.

Full meet results are here.

The Diamond League season continues with a meet in Florence, Italy, on Friday, live on Peacock. The headline event is the men’s 100m including Kerley and Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs of Italy. Kerley and Jacobs were due to go head to head in Rabat, but Jacobs withdrew last Thursday due to nerve pain.

Earlier, Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway comfortably took the 1500m in 3:32.59. American Yared Nuguse surged to place second in a personal best 3:33.02 in his Diamond League debut after running the world’s second-fastest indoor mile in history in February.

Jamaican Rasheed Broadbell ran down world champion Grant Holloway in the 110m hurdles, prevailing 13.08 to 13.12 into a headwind. Holloway remains fastest in the world this year at 13.03.

Kenyan Emmanuel Korir, the Olympic and world champion, finished eighth in the 800m won by countryman Emmanuel Wanyonyi. Wanyonyi, 18, is the world’s fastest in 2023.

American Shamier Little won the 400m hurdles in 53.95, becoming second-fastest in the world this year behind countrywoman Britton Wilson. Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the Olympic and world champion and world record holder, has yet to compete this outdoor season and so far has strictly committed to flat 400m races in future meets. McLaughlin-Levrone has a bye into the world championships 400m hurdles but may run the flat 400m there instead.

In the 400m, Olympic champion Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas won in 44.70, while world bronze medalist Matthew Hudson-Smith of Great Britain pulled up about 50 meters into the race.

Also Sunday, world bronze medalist Anna Hall improved from No. 3 to No. 2 on the U.S. all-time heptathlon list with 6,988 points to win the Hypo Meeting in Götzis, Austria. Only Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the world record holder at 7,291, has scored higher among Americans.

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, bracket

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

Main draw play began Sunday, live on Peacock.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Turning 22 during the tournament, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw