Family Circle Cup: V. Williams rallies into round of 16

  • Thursday, April 3, 2014

Venus Williams topped Chanelle Scheepers in straight sets Wednesday. FRANKIE MANSFIELD

Three days in the books and Venus Williams is the lone American left standing in singles competition of the 2014 Family Circle Cup.

Just a day after escaping the opening round in three sets, No. 11 seeded Williams fended off Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa, 7-5, 7-5, Wednesday afternoon to earn her bid into the round of 16.

Scheepers jumped out to a 5-3 lead in the first set before Williams battled back to take the next four games for the win. Williams fell behind 40-0 in the 11th game and 30-0 in the 12th game but was able to rally back in both games off of Scheepers' mistakes.

Williams appeared drained between sets as she laid slouched deep into the bench under an umbrella. She's been battling sickness throughout the week and cited experience as key in overcoming some of the challenges on the court.

“I'm having a lot of ups and downs in the matches, a lot of errors are pulling together,” Williams said. “The good part is that I'm having to fight out of these situations so it's making me tough.”

Scheepers got off to another strong start in the second set and looked ready to force a tiebreaker with an early 4-2 lead. But Williams again charged back to tie the set at 4-4, and again at 5-5, before taking the next two games and the match as Scheepers sent the final shot sailing out of bounds.

“(Scheepers) was playing so well, but the good thing is when I get behind I give even more effort and get even more focused,” Williams said. “I've been playing well from behind lately which is something you really have to do to win big matches.”

Williams advances to face No. 6 seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada Thursday afternoon in a matchup of the final two North Americans. After a first-round bye, Bouchard defeated Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-2, 6-0, Tuesday.

Americans become scarce

Outside of Williams, five Americans combined to win just two sets in five losses throughout Wednesday's singles matches.

No. 5 seed Sloane Stephens fell, 6-4, 6-4, to Ukraine's Elina Svitolina. No. 15 seed Madison Keys lost in three sets, 6-1, 6-7, 7-6, to Shuai Peng of China.

Lauren Davis was defeated by No. 2 seed Jelena Jankovic, 6-0, 6-3. Vania King lost, 7-5, 4-5, 6-3, to No. 4 seed Sabine Lisicki. Grace Min fell to Daniela Hantuchova, 6-2, 6-3.

The No. 5-seeded team of Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears is still alive in doubles competition and will face Jankovic and Andrea Petkovic Thursday night.

Frankie Mansfield, the sports reporter for the Moultrie News can be seen all around the state following teams to meets, games, and matches. For score updates, breaking sports news, and more follow @fjmansfield on Twitter and like Moultrie News Sports on Facebook.

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