The highly anticipated meet-up between Venus and Serena Williams in the second round of the Italian Open is not to be. The tournament announced that Serena Williams has withdrawn from Rome with a lingering knee injury. The tournament has provided no other information. The extent of Williams’ injury is unknown.
In her opening round, Williams got off to a slow start in Rome. Qualifier Rebecca Peterson claimed an early 3-1 lead against the American superstar. Short-lived, the lead quickly evaporated. Serena found her form and took control of the match. In just one hour and 15 minutes, Serena closed out the match 6-4 6-2.
Player injuries are not uncommon. But, Serena has had more than her fair share of injury withdrawals. Today’s announcement is reminiscent of Miami – the last tournament Serena played. Coincidentally, Rebecca Peterson is the same opponent Williams met in Miami before her hampered knee forced her withdrawal from that tournament. She also withdrew from Madrid last week before the tournament began.
In yesterday’s match, there was no indication of any injury. Fluid movement, effortless gliding – no one would have suspected Serena’s knee would fail her yet again. But, clay is an unforgiving surface, one which can take a toll on a body. And it seems that the red dirt has exacted its toll on an injury-plagued Williams.
Venus will have a walkover to the third round. The elder Williams sister came through a tough three-set match to set up the Sisters showdown. It’s likely Venus can make a deep run in Rome – her movement, serve, and form are all coming together in Rome.
With two weeks remaining, can Serena be ready for Roland Garros? There’s no indication the Grand Slam champion won’t arrive in Paris. Yet, can an unstable knee allow Williams the competitive abilities which led her to hold the French Open trophy? It remains to be seen for how long Williams will be waylaid.