KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — The oldest player in the women’s draw at the Miami Open, Venus Williams is looking forward to the next round. And next year. And the year after that.
“Yeah, 2020 here I come,” she said.
Williams earned her latest win in this season of resurgence Sunday, beating qualifier Patricia Maria Tig 6-3, 6-0 to reach the fourth round. Seeded 11th and appearing in the event for the 18th time, Williams is a threat to win her fourth Key Biscayne title — and her first since 2001.
She’s 12-3 in 2017, including a runner-up finish to sister Serena at the Australian Open, and at 36 shows no signs of slowing down. She hasn’t been ranked No. 1 in more than a decade but still has her sights set on the top spot.
“I would like to be No. 1,” she said. “Nobody is out there saying, ‘Cool, No. 11.’”
Rafael Nadal followed Williams onto the stadium court and was promptly blanked in a set for the first time in more than two years. But he recovered to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 0-6, 6-2, 6-3, a comeback that left him unusually pumped up for an early-round win.
When Nadal closed it out, he threw an uppercut, leaned back and screamed at the sky as the stadium crowd roared.
“It was a good feeling to have a comeback like I had today,” Nadal said. “He was doing everything good, but I played a great second and third set.”
The match was the 1,000th for Nadal, who improved to 822-178.
Williams also started slowly, and appeared to feel poorly at the outset. After warming up she made a trip to the bathroom, and took a pill given to her by a trainer during an early changeover.
She declined to discuss the issue but said she was determined to hang tough.
“I know that no matter what, I’m going to leave everything on the court: all my guts, blood, sweat, tears,” she said.
Her opponent Monday night will be No. 7 Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat American qualifier Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-2. Kuznetsova who won Key Biscayne in 2006 and was the runner-up last year.
“We’ve had a lot of great matches,” Williams said. “I played her in the very beginning of her career, and now we both have had great careers that are continuing to be amazing.”
Another match Monday between Grand Slam champions pits Roger Federer against Juan Martin del Potro.
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.
No. 2-seeded Kei Nishikori beat No. 25 Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (2), 6-7 (5), 6-1.
On the women’s side, 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.