Venus breaks her Rio duck

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RIO DE JANEIRO: Venus Williams finally broke her Rio duck Thursday when she teamed with Rajeev Ram to reach the Olympic Games mixed doubles second round.

The 36-year-old American, already a four-time Olympic gold medallist, had lost her opening round singles match and first round women’s doubles with sister Serena.

She was close to a third successive blowout when she and Ram had to save a match point against Dutch pairing Kiki Bertens and Jean-Julien Rojer.

But they eventually triumphed 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/3), 10-8.

Seven-time major winner Venus, who has been suffering from a virus in Rio, said she was trying to rein in thoughts of a possible fifth gold — an achievement which would better Serena’s record.

“The Olympics don’t come around very often. It’s every four years and you have a chance at that moment in time,” she said.

“I’m blessed I got the chance to do it and if I get another chance I will feel blessed. But we can’t look ahead.”

“The Olympics haven’t been ideal for us (Serena lost in the third round of the singles) but things don’t go your way all the time.”

The American pair next face either Roberta Vinci and Fabio Fognini of Italy or French second seeds, Kristina Mladenovic and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

“We have the capability to win a medal but we have to earn it,” said Venus.

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