Venus Williams claims Wuhan Open
Issued on: Modified:
Venus Williams profited from the fatigue and injury of her opponent Garbine Muguruza to emerge with the Wuhan Open trophy. It's her second title of the year.
Williams' 47th crown of her illustrious career was her most prestigious title since taking the Dubai Open in 2010.
The 35-year-old was handed victory when Muguruza pulled out with an ankle injury while trailing 0-3 in the second set. She'd already lost the first 3-6.
World number eight Muguruza hurt her calf during her semi-final against Germany’s Angelique Kerber but the 21-year-old was initially able to withstand the fierce ground strokes of the former world number one.
Williams broke for a 4-2 lead in the first set but was pegged back before taking the Spaniard’s service again and closing out the set.
It was one-way traffic in the second set as Muguruza’s movement became increasingly hampered. She finally yielded to the inevitable after being broken for the second time to trail 0-3.
"I'm very sorry to have had to retire, but sometimes the body just doesn't recover," she said.
For Williams it was her first title since Auckland in January and her first WTA Tier Five event since seeing off Victoria Azarenka in Dubai five years ago.
"I had my chances. But I knew with Venus, it's hard with her serve, with her shots, if you're not 100 per cent," Muguruza said.
Williams, who became a professional on the tour the year that Muguruza was born, was struggling during the final with leg pain and had both of her thighs wrapped.
But she said that experience gained during her more than two-decade-long career in which she has claimed seven grand slam titles allowed her to put the injury out of her mind.
"By the time I'm on the court, I've blocked the pain out if I've decided I'm going to play. At that point I'm in the match and not anywhere else," Williams said.
As a result of the win, Williams will climb nine places to 15th in the world rankings while Muguruza will rise to number five.