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Wasting seven match points, Venus loses Acapulco stunner to Kaja Juvan

Wasting seven match points, Venus loses Acapulco stunner to Kaja Juvan

The 19-year-old Slovenian saved all seven in a remarkable game when serving down 4-6, 4-5 in the pair's first-round meeting on Tuesday.

Former No. 1 Venus Williams returned to Acapulco for the first time in a decade Tuesday, but the two-time champion’s stay was cut short with a crushing defeat to qualifier Kaja Juvan.

Seven proved to be a lucky number for the Slovenian, who in a single game, erased seven match points before pulling off an incredible comeback victory over the No. 5 seed, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2, in two hours and 38 minutes.

"I lost to Serena in Wimbledon, 6-4, in the third, so I was really disappointed. Today, I wasn't really feeling it on the court the first two sets," Juvan said in a post-match interview. "I was just like, I gotta shake it. I'm glad I did."

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Serving at 4-6, 4-5, Juvan found herself down 0-40. She dug herself out of the initial hole by going for her shots, hitting an ace up the T, correctly challenging an untouched forehand that caught the baseline and reaching back for another well-timed serve up the middle that went unreturned. Williams would later reach ad four separate times in the 12-minute game, but after Juvan saved match point No. 4 thanks to drilling a backhand down the line winner, the American missed the final three opportunities with unforced errors.

"When I was down 5-4, I hit it on the line. I was sure it was out," Juvan said. "And then I just thought, if I was granted this one wish, I got to take this third set."

 

Williams, who hit 13 double faults, has now lost four successive matches dating back to her second-round defeat to Belinda Bencic at last year’s China Open in Beijing. Her only other singles match in 2020 came at the Australian Open, where she was outclassed for the second time by 15-year-old Coco Gauff in the first round of a major tournament.

The victory marked Juvan’s fourth over a Top 100 opponent. The 19-year-old will meet countrywoman Tamara Zidansek for a spot in the last eight.