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American teen Keys looked up to Venus as a toddler
This year’s Australian Open is her third Grand Slam and her best result so far.
She faces a tough test in the third round against Wimbledon semifinalist and No. 5-seed Angelique Kerber of Germany, who beat Luci Hradecka in the second round 6-3, 6-1.
Unlike the jitters she felt at the U.S. Open, Keys said she feels more confident now.
“My first U.S. Open main draw, it was a big stadium and I wasn’t really used to it,” she said. “But I feel good about this one so far.”
Her former idol, 32-year-old Venus Williams, had a good day, too, advancing to the third round after beating Alize Cornet of France 6-3, 6-3.
Asked what it feels like to have younger players look up to her, Venus laughed.
“I’m fighting the wrinkles and I’m fighting the battle of the bulge and everything,” Williams responded. “I’m still slim and trim, thank you God.”
BATTLE FOR NO. 1: The women’s No. 1 ranking will be decided at the Australian Open.
The contenders are top-ranked Victoria Azarenka, No. 2 Maria Sharapova and No. 3 Serena Williams.
Azarenka needs to reach the final to have a shot at staying on top. She first claimed the top-ranking after winning last year’s Australian Open and is guaranteed to keep it for her 48th week until the tournament ends.
Sharapova and Williams need to reach the final to have a shot at unseating Azarenka.
Four-time major winner Sharapova made a four-week return to the No. 1-spot in June after completing a career Grand Slam by winning her first French Open title. She became the first Russian to reach the top-ranking in August 2005 and has held the spot for 21 non-consecutive weeks during her career.
Serena is well-acquainted with the top spot, having spent 123 weeks during her career at No. 1. The 15-time Grand Slam winner is seeking her fifth Australian Open trophy.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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