Venus Williams hurts back, loses to Li

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“I saw her serve and was like, `What’s going on?’” Li said.

After the third game of the second set, Williams called for the trainer. She placed a white towel on the court and lay face-down for several minutes while the trainer worked on her lower back for several minutes, with Williams wincing.

“I thought the match to be over,” Li said.

Not even close. Williams went back out on the court and broke Li’s serve to even the set at 2-all.

Williams had trouble getting anything on her serve _ she moved stiffly _ and ambled to her chair during breaks, leaning down to stretch her back. With the crowd cheering every point, she kept playing and kept winning, breaking Li again to go up 4-2 and serving out the set.

Before one serve early in the third set, she started to raise her arm to toss the ball and had to stop because of her back. She then served at 66 mph _ and held serve. One of her second serves clocked 63 mph a few games later.

Williams pushed herself to the end. She ran down a ball for a put-away slam in the last game, which Li won when Williams hit a return long _ her 47th unforced error during the 2-hour, 8-minute match.

Williams smiled as he walked to the net to shake hands.

“I like to live life with no regrets,” she said. “I don’t want look back and feel like I gave up or say I could have done this or that. That’s not me. I wanted to go the very end and at least know that maybe I missed some shots or maybe I wasn’t feeling my best, but I gave it my all.”

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