VENUS INTO FOURTH ROUND
ON FRENCH OPEN DAY 6
Ashley Marshall | June 2, 2017
Just two weeks away from her 37th birthday, Venus Williams proved once again that age is just another number as she remained on track to capture elusive silverware in Paris.
Williams moved into the fourth round of the French Open on Day 6 with a convincing 6-3, 6-1 win over Elise Mertens of Belgium. The match took just 64 minutes.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion broke the world No. 60 three consecutive times in the first set before reeling off six straight games in the second to advance to the round of 16 for the 10th time in 20 trips to the French capital.
The American has never won the French Open, finishing as runner-up in 2002 and reaching the quarterfinals in 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2006. She has won Wimbledon five times and the US Open twice, but she has appeared in just two finals in her past 31 majors. ADVERTISEMENT
Williams is trending upward, however, having now reached the fourth round of the previous five Slam appearances. She advanced to the fourth round in France 12 months ago and followed up that success with a run to the semifinals in Wimbledon, the fourth round in New York and the final earlier this year in Melbourne.
The No. 10 seed will face No. 30 seed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland in the fourth round. The winner of that will face either defending champion Garbiñe Muguruza or No. 13 seed Kristina Mladenovic, who twice came close to losing to an American, first to Jennifer Brady in the first and then again to Shelby Rogers in Friday's third round.
Rogers led 4-1 and had a chance to serve for the match at 5-4 before Mladenovic prevailed, 8-6. Elsewhere on Friday, No. 25 Steve Johnson lost to No. 6 seed Dominic Thiem, 6-1, 7-6, 6-3, and qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands fell to former US Open champion and No. 23 seed Sam Stosur, 6-2, 6-2.
In the final match of the day, CiCi Bellis was trailing No. 11 seed and former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki by one set to love when rain suspended play. Bellis was leading 5-2 in the second set when the match was halted, and she will serve to send the third-round contest into a decider when play resumes Saturday.