PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA
By STEVEN WINE
AP Sports Writer
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) – Venus Williams made the most of her home-court advantage Sunday at the Miami Open.
Playing for the 18th time in a tournament she considers her hometown event, Williams reached the fourth round by beating qualifier Patricia Maria Tig 6-3, 6-0.
Williams lives 100 miles up Interstate 95 in Palm Beach Gardens.
“I love South Florida,” she told the crowd after her victory. “It’s really home.”
Williams has won the tournament three times, most recently in 2001. At 36 she’s the oldest player in the draw.
Seeded 11th, she’ll next play No. 7 Svetlana Kuznetsova, who won Key Biscayne in 2006 and was the runner-up last year. Kuznetsova beat American qualifier Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-2.
Top-ranked Angelique Kerber lost the first three games and then rallied to beat American Shelby Rogers 6-4, 7-5. Kerber climbed atop the rankings a week ago to replace Serena Williams, who missed the tournament due to a left knee injury.
In men’s play, No. 2-seeded Kei Nishikori beat No. 25 Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (2), 6-7 (5), 6-1.
No. 3 Milos Raonic pulled out after aggravating a right hamstring injury that sidelined him for nearly a month. Raonic withdrew before his match against American qualifier Jared Donaldson, who advanced to the fourth round.