The upsets kept coming at Wimbledon on Friday as Venus Williams—a five-time champion, last year’s finalist and this year’s No. 9 seed—lost in a nail-biter to Kiki Bertens, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 8-6.
In their only previous meeting, Venus had to save three match points to win—in the third round of Miami earlier this year. Bertens must have had even more belief coming into this one, as she stormed out to a 6-2, 4-2 lead against the 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 Wimbledon winner.
The No. 20-seeded Dutchwoman even served for the match later in the second set at 6-2, 5-4—and was two points away up 30-15 in that game—but Venus hung tough, breaking back and sneaking out the second set in a tiebreaker, and even jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead in the deciding set.
WATCH—Daily Serve from Day 4 at Wimbledon:
But Bertens wasn’t done either—she broke back and the two players went into a holding pattern from there, eventually finding themselves at 6-all, and then 7-6 after one last hold from the Dutchwoman.
Serving at 6-7, Venus bravely fought off the first two match points—the first with a forehand volley winner, the next with an untouchable inside-out forehand—but one last backhand into the net on the third match point gave Bertens one of the biggest wins of her career after two hours and 40 minutes.
“I kept telling myself that I had a chance today again,” Bertens said. “I played a really good match, played aggressively just like I did in Miami, and I was just like, ‘Okay, keep going for it, and we’ll see.'
“In the end I was lucky enough to win today.”
Bertens is now through to the second week of a Grand Slam for the third time in her career, the first two times coming at Roland Garros in 2014 (reaching the fourth round) and 2016 (the semifinals).
Venus, meanwhile, fell in the first week of her most beloved Grand Slam for the first time since 2014 (when she fell in the third round to Petra Kvitova). It continued a disappointing season at the Slams for the former world No. 1, who fell in the first round of both the Australian Open and French Open.
“I just ran out of time in the end,” Venus said in her post-match press conference. “She played really well today, though. You have to win the last point, and I just didn’t succeed in doing that today.”
“She’s such a great player,” Bertens said of Venus. “She keeps on believing, keeps on playing her shots, so it was really tough. I just kept trying, and it was just a lot of fighting, and I won this time.”
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