Venus Williams' newest US Open record is a striking testament to her longevity

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/olympics/rio-2016/a/1121027/" data-ylk="slk:Venus Williams">Venus Williams</a> has never lost in the opening round of the U.S. Open. (AP Photo)
Venus Williams has never lost in the opening round of the U.S. Open. (AP Photo)

Venus Williams has entered the U.S. Open 20 times, and 20 times, she’s advanced past the first round.

With her win over Svetlana Kuznetsova Monday, Williams secured the record for most first-round U.S. Open singles wins without a loss for a woman in the Open era (dating back to 1968). She previously shared the record, at 19-0, with American Chris Evert.

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For comparison, current world No. 1 Simona Halep lost not only her first-round match Monday, but also her opener at the 2017 edition of the tournament.

The older Williams sister outlasted Kuznetsova 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in a nearly three-hour match. Both have struggled with injury this year, but Williams was able to take down the 2004 champion Kuznetsova with 48 winners and 45 unforced errors to her 40 winners and 38 unforced errors. 

Venus Williams started setting records last century

Williams, 38, entered her first U.S. Open as an unseeded 17-year-old and made it to the final in 1997. Despite losing, she was the first woman in nearly 20 years (Pam Shriver did it in 1978) to reach a U.S. Open singles final on her first attempt, and was the first unseeded U.S. Open women’s singles finalist since 1958. 

She later went on to become the seventh woman ever to reach all four Grand Slam finals in a calendar year, and the youngest woman to reach all Grand Slam finals. Now ranked No. 16, Williams is the oldest player in the World Tennis Association top-100.

Since her Grand Slam singles debut, the former world No. 1 has racked up seven titles (including back-to-back U.S. Open wins in 2000 and 2001), and 10 finals appearances. With younger sister Serena as her partner, she has won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles.

If Serena wins her own first-round match, the two have a chance of meeting in the third round of this year’s tournament.

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