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Venus Williams narrowly misses out on Auckland quarter-final spot; Gauff wins; Raducanu injured

The 42-year-old led 5-3 in the final set before going down to Zhu Lin of China in Auckland

Venus Williams Auckland 2023 Venus Williams Auckland 2023 / Crédit : Photosport, Panoramic

When she led 5-3 in the final set against China’s Zhu Lin in the second round of the ASB Classic on Thursday, Venus Williams was on the verge of reaching her first WTA Tour quarter-final for four years.

But world No 84 Zhu stormed back to win the last four games and deny the 42-year-old what would have been another remarkable achievement.

As it is, former world No 1 Venus will have to settle for a good week but her 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 defeat means it’s Zhu and not the American who goes through to the last eight.

Zhu had beaten Madison Brengle, from match point down, showed her resolve again in a match interrupted by rain delays and which eventually forced the match to be completed indoors.

Having got the break in the final set, Williams served for the match at 5-4 but was broken. The American then had four chances to break herself at 5-5 but couldn’t take them and was then broken again as Zhu set up a clash with another American, top seed Coco Gauff.

Gauff downs Kenin, Raducanu injured

Gauff beat former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-4, 6-4 to take her place in the last eight. Kenin had beaten Gauff when she won the Australian Open in 2020 but a lot has changed since then and Gauff, in her first WTA event as the No 1 seed, ran out a comfortable winner.

Former US Open champion Emma Raducanu faces a race against time to be fit for the Australian Open after she was forced to retire during her second-round meeting with Viktoria Kuzmova, having twisted her ankle.

Raducanu ripped through the first set 6-0 but rolled her left ankle late in the second set. After losing the set 7-5, she had the trainer out and decided not to risk further injury.

Seventh seed Danka Kovinic and Rebeka Masarova, a qualifier from Spain who beat former US Open champion Sloane Stephens in round one, also advanced to the quarter-finals.

ASB Classic, Auckland WTA250, second-round results:

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