Venus, Sloane Look to Continue Charleston Momentum
By: Nick McCarvel
Venus Williams announced her arrival back in Charleston on Wednesday afternoon at the Volvo Car Open. Thursday she hopes to continue her stay.
The 35-year-old American, champion here in 2004, plays not-before 1pm inside Volvo Car Stadium, slotted for live broadcast on ESPN2.
Williams’ comes after defending champion Angelique Kerber, who skimmed by in her opening match on Tuesday evening and – like Venus – will look to further her stay on Daniel Island, up against a qualifier in Kristina Kucova.
From start to finish it’s a day of tennis that is brimming with promise: Kerber and Venus kick off play inside stadium, while a pair of promising young players in Daria Kasatkina, a Russian seeded number 14 here, and Louisa Chirico, an American, kick things off on Althea Gibson Club Court.
2011 finalist Elena Vesnina is set for Club Court play, as is veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who does battle against Laura Siegemund, the German who upset 2015 finalist Madison Keys on Wednesday.
2010 winner Sam Stosur will follow Venus inside stadium, set to play a fellow clay court expert in Sara
Errani, the No. 5 seed. Many fans will remember their French Open semifinal battle from 2012, which Errani won to reach her first-ever Grand Slam championship match.
Monica Puig will close the day in stadium, facing Irina-Camelia Begu, a quarterfinalist here last year, who has found her form once again on the green clay of Charleston.
Fans will get a glimpse of what’s next on the WTA in the evening session, with American Stephens, seeded No. 7, up against another Daria – Gavrilova. The Australian, “Dasha,” is the No. 12 seed and has had a standout 2016, including a fourth round appearance at the Australian Open.
Doubles matches will conclude the schedule of play on both Althea Gibson and stadium, the Russian team
Kasatkina and Vesnina featured on Club Court while Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Siegemund play Anabel
Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja to close out the night in the stadium.
Venus, back here for the eighth time, on Wednesday discussed her love for Charleston and coming back whenever she can.
“Well, Charleston, great tennis, great eating, great people,” Williams said, smiling. “There's a lot to do here, from the water to historical to recreational. I have to come back one day when I'm not playing because when you're here it's just back-to-back tennis.”
Williams hopes that back-to-back action continues when she takes on Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva.
Putintseva upset Sabine Lisicki, the 2009 champion, on Wednesday, and though Williams owns a 3-0 head-to-head against her, all three of the matches have been tight two-setters.
Stephens, who is playing here for the sixth time, is chasing her first quarterfinal berth. She has won the first three titles of her career in the last year, most recently in Acapulco, in February.
“Getting a win is always nice, and especially here,” said Stephens, 23. “I love this tournament, and I've never really done that great here. So I'm happy to be through to the third round.”