Superb Venus defying age, illness

05-09-2017
DH

US ninth seed Williams, seeking her eighth Grand Slam title and third US Open crown, defeated Spain’s 35th-ranked Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 Sunday.

She booked a Tuesday fight for a semifinal spot against Czech 13th seed Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon winner who defeated Spanish third seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza 7-6 (3), 6-3.

Williams is only 1-4 against Kvitova, but she has grown accustomed to overcoming the odds.

In 2011, Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren’s disease, which leaves her weakened and pushed her into a vegan diet to stay competitive and combat the illness.

“Over time I’ve learned that I can push myself a lot further than I thought I could,” Williams said. “I do have to push myself a lot. I think that’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned.

“In the beginning, when everything is easy, you’re healthy, it’s easy to play when you don’t have those odds against you. But when you have the odds against you, it’s hard to find that in yourself every day.”

Williams, 19-3 in majors this year, said she wasn’t sure how she was able to stay competitive over rivals sometimes half her age. I love the pressure and I need a challenge,” Williams said. “I don’t know (how I sustain it). If I could do it I would put it in a box and sell it.”

Williams said health, fitness, skill and love for the competition all play a role.

“You do have to have a love because it’s a lot of work,” she said. “There are sacrifices you make with your family, your loved ones — just doing normal things like sitting on your own couch that are taken for granted.”

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