Venus leads US to victory over S Africa

Venus leads US to victory over S Africa

PERTH, Australia - Agence France-Presse
Venus leads US to victory over S Africa

Venus Williams says she is happy with her overall performance in 2012. AFP Photo

American Venus Williams gave her comeback hopes a boost with a win at the Hopman Cup in Perth yesterday.

Williams beat the 60th-ranked Chanelle Scheepers in three sets to help the United States post a 2-1 win over South Africa in their Group B tie at the mixed teams tournament.

Although Kevin Anderson leveled the tie for South Africa with an upset win with over fellow big man John Isner in the men’s singles, the Americans prevailed in straight sets in the deciding mixed doubles.

Williams, playing for the first time since October, made a slow start against Scheepers but steadied to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

The seven-time Grand Slam singles winner has climbed the rankings this year as she recovered from a major setback due to illness in 2011.

Williams slipped to 134th in the rankings last year after suffering from Sjgren’s Syndrome, a systemic autoimmune disease.

However, she has enjoyed much better fortunes this year.

The 32-year-old won her first singles title since 2010 in Luxembourg, teamed with sister Serena to win gold in the doubles at the London Olympics and finished the season ranked 24th in the world.

“Last year was so awesome for me, winning a tournament and getting to the Olympics and getting a gold,” she said. “I was extremely happy last year and moved up quite a few spots.

“This year is just about building on it and continuing to play deep into the draws and put myself in positions to play well deep into the tournaments.”