Williams, Jankovic win openers at WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai

Updated: 2015-11-04 09:18


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ZHUHAI - Venus Williams was two points from defeat against fellow American Madison Keys but battled back to win her opener at the Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai on Tuesday.

Keys started strongly in the first match of the tournament, storming through the first set in just 32 minutes, 6-3, and three times coming within two points of winning the match up 6-5 in the second set.

But Williams never stopped fighting, holding serve and sneaking out a tight tiebreak at 7-5, and she then ran away with it in the third set, eventually closing out the Group A match at 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1.

"This was the perfect match to start the tournament. Madison and I play so similarly. It was such a competitive match, and I came so close to losing, and I'm so happy to stand here as the winner," said Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1.

"You never know which match you'll win or lose - I enjoy every win and learn from every loss.

"I'll see you in my next match! I think I'm playing Saisai," she said, referring to the other player in her round robin group, Zheng Saisai, who was actually sitting in the front row in the stands.

In Group C actions, another former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic defeated Italian Sara 6-4, 7-5 in two hours.

"She's a big fighter, and she does not give you any free points. I really had to earn it. I'm glad I was able to beat her tonight." Jankovic said. "I thought I played well. In certain games I was playing aggressive and was dictating play, but then at certain periods in the match I got tired. And especially at the end of this second set."

Jankovic will face an altogether different challenge on Wednesday in her second round robin fixture, against big-hitting WTA rising star Karolina Pliskova.

"I will have to play a little bit differently than tonight, but I will try to play my tennis and hopefully try to win and get through my group."

In a Group B match, Elina Svitolina of Ukraine beat German Andrea Petkovic 7-6(4), 6-3.

As the last tournament of the WTA calendar year, WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai stands out not only for its strong lineup but also for its unique format, with 12 players falling into four groups in a round robin format. The winner of each group qualifies for the semifinals. Enditem