SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Venus Williams let her tennis do the talking after she avenged her Wimbledon final defeat by Garbine Muguruza to battle past the Spaniard and into the WTA Finals semi-finals on Thursday.
The 37-year-old American and second-ranked Spaniard went into the encounter with 1-1 records in round-robin play and Williams, making her first appearance in the event since 2009, emerged with a 7-5 6-4 victory to progress to the last four.
“I’m pretty used to going home after losing, so I knew what the stakes were,” a taciturn Williams told reporters when asked about her approach to the winner-takes-all White Group showdown.
Williams refused to dwell on the one hour, 41 minute encounter, instead saying she had already shifted the focus to her next match against the Red Group winner, most likely to be Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki.
“I’m just focused on Saturday, trying to win again. So I don’t know if my levels dropped in the second set (against Muguruza),” she added, before praising the strong crowd support in Singapore where she is appearing for the first time.
Muguruza, who beat Williams 7-5 6-0 at Wimbledon, admitted she was baffled by her inability to overcome her veteran opponent after following up Tuesday’s group loss to Karolina Pliskova with another painful defeat.
“I wasn’t trying to get frustrated, because I knew I wasn’t playing my best tennis,” the 24-year-old said.
“I was just trying to be calm, to not get crazy and kind of waiting for my opportunity. And it didn’t come. In important moments, she stepped up and turned it around.”
Despite the disappointment, Muguruza was keen to highlight what a great year she had experienced after adding the Wimbledon title to her 2016 French Open triumph.
“I’m very proud of this year. It’s not going to change. I knew here that it’s going to be tough, the best eight players are playing,” she added.
“My year has been incredible and best so far. I improved so many things and that’s what I’m going to take from it.”
Editing by Ed Osmond