Three-time winner Venus Williams fell in straight sets Tuesday, March 23, 2021, on opening day at the Miami Open in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas ranked 89th in the world, defeated Williams 6-2, 7-6 (10) in nearly 1½ hours.
Seven-time Grand Slam Champion won the event in 1998, ‘99 and 2001 and is the second-winningest player in tourney history behind her sister, Serena Williams, who pulled out of the tournament.
“I’m very happy with the win today, it was very tough,” Diyas said after her victory.
“Venus, I looked up to her when I was little, she’s such a legend. So, for me, it’s a really special win today.”
Diyas survived five aces from Williams, who committed 16 unforced errors. Diyas was able to rebound from a 4-1 deficit in the second set and recover from errors on two match points in the tiebreak. But Williams also squandered two set points.
Elsewhere, Shelby Rogers and Czech Barbora Krejcikova were also winners on Day 1.
Rogers defeated fellow American Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-3 in just over an hour while Krejcikova needed two hours, three minutes to get past Russia’s Anna Blinkova, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
There were also wins for Magda Linette, Sorana Cirstea, Barbora Krejcikova and Kaia Kanepi, while Ajla Tomljanovic beat Anastasia Potapova to seal a clash against second seed Naomi Osaka in the next round.