4 Jan 2019

ASB Classic: Williams loving it while Wozniacki bombs out

1:54 pm on 4 January 2019

Despite the overcast, muggy conditions, it was a glamorous setting at Stanley Street last night for the ASB Classic women's second round.

Venus Williams after winning her match during the ASB Classic.

Venus Williams after winning her match during the ASB Classic. Photo: Photosport

The corporate boxes were full of fans in to soak up a couple of top draw matches, with Venus Williams taking on 2017 winner Lauren Davis, followed by top seed Caroline Wozniacki facing Bianca Andreescu.

It's highly unlikely anyone in at Stanley Street last night had heard of Andreescu before this week, but they know who she is now. The aggressive Canadian qualifier blasted her way past tournament and fan favourite Wozniacki in straight sets, winning 6-4, 6-4.

It was a stunning upset, which kept the crowd in till almost 11:30pm. They were on their feet as the 18-year-old sent yet another forehand past the world number three, then sunk to her knees after realising what she'd just done.

It's a bitter exit for Wozniacki, who looked all business in her first round win. She was the beaten finalist last year, and this isn't the way she would've wanted to warm up for her Australian Open defence. It's also not exactly what tournament organisers would have wanted either, they're now robbed of a Williams/Wozniacki quarter final.

Caroline Wozniacki receives medical treatment during the ASB Classic.

Caroline Wozniacki receives medical treatment during her match against Bianca Andreescu. Photo: Photosport

One interested spectator was kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker. His massive, black t-shirt clad frame stuck out like a giant among everyone else in the hospitality area, not least because every other guy seemed to be wearing a white business shirt.

Parker had a great view of the action on centre court. This time last year he was preparing for the biggest night of his life, a March 31st date with Anthony Joshua in Cardiff that ended in a unanimous points loss.

Williams delivered more of a knockout in her 6-4, 6-3 defeat of fellow American Davis. Despite some impressive rallies and saves from the world number 173, Davis was ultimately blown off the court by the seven-time Grand Slam champ.

There was some speculation that Williams' 38-year-old legs might not have recovered after her pulsating first round win over Viktoria Azarenka, although that may have been just a sign of frustration from those who would have rather had the Belarusian going deep in the tournament.

However, now the storyline is now firmly around Williams. To have her name added to the list of winners at the ASB Classic for a second time would be highly popular, and organisers will be hoping that it may help smooth over the bad memories her sister has of Auckland.

Serena Williams' only appearance in 2017 was not a happy one, bombing out in the second round and blaming it on some unseasonably blustery conditions. Venus certainly gave the impression that's she's having a much better time when she spoke to media after the win.

"It was a lot of fun [tonight]. It's fun what the tournament does for the fans here, it really is the place to be. The atmosphere is incredible, it's great for the players and the fans.

"The quality of the players is high here. Everyone's trying to find their best form right away, it's not easy and there's that pressure of trying to play your best. It's an amazing first week, that's all I can say."

Before Andreescu's win, Williams admitted she knew 'zero' about her eventual opponent in the quarter finals, probably not even that she's 20 years her senior. Chances are she'll probably be doing a bit of research before they meet on Saturday.