Having lost four consecutive matches before entering Cincinnati, things haven’t gone according to plan for Venus Williams this summer. On Monday at the Western & Southern Open, the 39-year-old turned things around with a 7-5, 6-2 win over fellow American Lauren Davis.
Venus, who holds 49 career titles including seven Grand Slams, is bidding for her first Cincinnati title. The former world No. 1, who is currently ranked No. 65, hasn’t won a trophy since claiming Kaohsiung in 2016. She reached three big finals in 2017, at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and WTA Finals.
On Monday, after handing back an early break, the two-time US Open champion broke again in the 12th game to take the first set. She kept the pressure on, breaking two more times in the second set to close out the match in straight sets. Venus has now beaten Davis four straight times.
Up next for Venus is No. 5-seeded Kiki Bertens, who earned a first-round bye. They have split their two career meetings—both matches coming in 2018 in three sets with Venus winning their Miami Open third round and Bertens getting revenge at Wimbledon.