Thai newcomer upsets No. 6 Kvitova, Venus out

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VENUS LOSES IN SINLGES: Venus Williams has suffered illness and injuries in recent years but doesn’t want to talk about her weaknesses. She wants to focus on her tennis.

“I love tennis. It’s fun,” said the seven-time Grand Slam winner after losing her first-round match to No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Williams hasn’t reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2010 and is ranked 37th.

Williams revealed several years ago that she suffers from Sjogren’s syndrome, an energy-sapping autoimmune disease.

“The last 12 months, I have had issues, but this year I definitely am looking forward to, you know, having a good run and feeling well.”

Health is a factor that all professional athletes have to deal with, she said.

“So I don’t think I’m any different from anyone else,” said Williams, who at 33 was the second-oldest player at the singles draw.

She’s not done in Melbourne. Williams returns to the court later this week to try to win her 14th Grand Slam doubles trophy with her sister, Serena.

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LOST COUNT: So, exactly how many match points did Madison Keys waste before winning?

There were so many, she lost count.

“Basically, there was a lot,” the American teen laughed. “I can’t tell you how many there were, I’m just really happy I closed it out on the last one.”

There were six - five match points in the second set and another in the third before Keys finally beat Patricia Mayr-Achleitner of Austria 6-2, 6-7 (8), 9-7.

“This is one of those matches where you’re just happy you got through it,” said the power-hitting, huge-serving 18-year-old, who is seen as one of the rising stars in American tennis.

Now ranked 36th, Keys had a breakthrough season in 2013, which she started 137th. She reached the third rounds at last year’s Australian Open, which she entered as a wild card, and Wimbledon. Keys faces Zheng Jie of China in the second round.

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