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U.S. Open: Venus Williams winces but wins

Venus Williams has the weight of the Williams sister dominance to carry at this U.S. Open. With her top-ranked sister Serena not in New York, recuperating from surgery to repair a foot injured by glass at a German restaurant after Wimbledon and posting on Twitter about her nervous stomach, third-seeded Venus beat Italy's Roberta Vinci, 6-4, 6-1, Monday night.

Venus hadn't played a match since Wimbledon because of an injured knee and in the second set she hit a swing volley and then winced and seemed to pull up for a moment. She said she was happy to get through the match and did a little dance while hitting balls to the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd at the end of her win.

And Venus called her black dress that was adorned with zippers and and fringe and spaghetti straps "My evening dress." This seems to mean she'll also have a daytime dress. And now she'll get at least one more match at the Open, which she has won twice but not since 2001. 

Venus had started the match with a 124-mph ace and said afterward that she didn't feel rusty. "I feel like I worked the points real well today," she said. She said she's been on the court only 14 days since Wimbledon. Hardest part of getting ready? "Not being too critical of myself," she said.

Even without Serena, with whom she won the U.S. Open doubles title last year, Venus said, "I'm just hoping to make it a big year this year."

-- Diane Pucin

 
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