Venus Williams ousts defending champion Kiki Bertens at Southern Open as Serena Williams withdraws

Jack Rathborn
The Independent

Venus Williams shocked defending champion Kiki Bertens at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

The seven-time grand slam champion prevailed over the No 5 seed 6-3 3-6 7-6 (4) in a gruelling second-round match that lasted two hours and 17 minutes.

Williams gained revenge over Bertens after her victory in three sets at Wimbledon last month.

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The 39-year-old American remained composed this time for her second top-five victory of the season to go alongside her win over then-number three Petra Kvitova at Indian Wells.

Meanwhile, Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament citing a back problem which forced her to pull out of the Rogers Cup final at the weekend.

The American was due to face Zarina Diyas in the first round in Ohio on Tuesday evening.

Quoted on the WTA site, she said: "I am so sad to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open as it is truly one of the tournaments I most love to play."

Williams serves in Cincinnati (Getty)
Williams serves in Cincinnati (Getty)

Elsewhere, unseeded Anett Kontaveit upset former world number one Angelique Kerber 7-6 (7) 6-2 in their first-round match, while Madison Keys squeaked past 2017 champion Garbine Muguruza 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5) 6-4.

There were also wins for Victoria Azarenka, Donna Vekic, Jennifer Brady, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Yafan Wang.

PA contributed to this report

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