An interview with Venus Williams before her first round at the Olympic tennis event.
“It’s a tournament everyone wants to play, but it’s all about the medal,” says two-time Wimbledon winner and 2012 Olympian Petra Kvitova.
What are her fellow players looking forward to most ahead of the Olympic tennis event in Rio de Janeiro? Watch the video above to find out!
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – The first round of the Olympic tennis event wraps up on Sunday with all of the top seeded women headlining the action, including Serena Williams and Garbiñe Muguruza.
Sunday, First Round
 Serena Williams (USA #1) vs Daria Gavrilova (AUS #46)
Head-to-head: Williams leads 1-0
It’s been a somewhat quiet season for Australia’s Daria Gavrilova. Since last year’s breakthrough, she’s succumbed to a string of first and second losses, results at odds with the 22-year-old’s big game and even bigger promise. But despite the early exits, Gavrilova’s reputation as a giant-killer remains intact – she owns four wins over Top 20 players so far, including victories over Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep.
She’ll have to bring every ounce of her dogged belief and determination against what would be the biggest opponent of all: World No.1 Serena Williams. The American is in killer form this year, having played six events and reaching the final in all but one. She’s also fresh off a monumental Wimbledon win, where she won her record-tying 22nd Grand Slam title, and comes to Rio once again chasing history and vying to become the first tennis player – male or female – to win five Olympic medals.
Mariana Duque-Mariño (COL #82) vs  Angelique Kerber (GER #3)
Head-to-head: Duque-Mariño leads 1-0
Mariana Duque-Mariño got her first taste of gold at last year’s Pan Am Games in Toronto when she became Colombia’s first women’s tennis player to bring home the medal. Since then, Duque-Mariño has toiled through qualifying rounds and posted her career second appearance at a WTA final in Nurnberg earlier this year.
The Colombian has fond memories of the last time she played against her first-round opponent; Duque-Mariño defeated Angelique Kerber to win the title in Bogota, her hometown, back in 2010.
Kerber’s season skidded a bit after the high of winning her first Grand Slam title in Australia, but rumors of her downfall were greatly exaggerated. The German has reached the semifinals or better at seven events this year, including an appearance at the Wimbledon final and her run to the semifinal of the Rogers Cup just last week. Despite facing travel difficulties, the German arrived to her second Olympic Games in good form and primed for another deep run.
Around the grounds…
No.3 seed Garbiñe Muguruza kick starts her Olympics campaign against former No.1 Jelena Jankovic on Centre Court. Meanwhile No.11 seed Petra Kvitova and No.13 seed Samantha Stosur take to Court 2 to face off against Timea Babos and Jelena Ostapenko, respectively.
NANCHANG, China – Duan Ying-Ying capped a winning week at the Jiangxi Open with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 upset over No.6 seed Vania King to win her first-ever WTA trophy.
Watch live action from Nanchang this week on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!
Playing in the biggest final of her career, Duan recovered from a slow start against the two-time Grand Slam doubles champion, who spent the first eight months of 2015 off the court due to a back injury, to strike gold at home in a two-hour epic.
“I’m very happy to win my first ever WTA singles title, especially with my low back injury and the hot weather here,” Duan said after the match.
“Vania played really well in the first set. My coach gave me some advice during the second set. He asked me to improve my speed a bit and I did so. It worked.”
Down a set and a break, Duan immediately broke back and saved another six break points in her next three service games to put her in position to take a lead of her own and level the match.
“I didn’t expect so many fans to come today. I was really glad to have them cheer for me; their support helped me get through.”
The final set proved decisive for Duan, who broke serve to start and never looked back, serving out her first title to love.
“Winning this title boosted my confidence a lot. I hope to keep up the form and play well at US Open. It’s a really well-organized event this year. I hope to come back next year.
“I might go to see a movie tonight to celebrate!”
In the doubles final, unseeded Chinese pair Liang Chen and Lu Jing-Jing won tense battle against Japanese duo and No.2 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Makoto Ninomiya, 3-6, 7-6(2), 13-11.
Thanks for your fantastic performance in the past week.??See you next year in #Nanchang !#DuanYingYing @queen_v21 pic.twitter.com/LjfYvVoBVy
— Jiangxi Open (@JiangxiOpen) August 7, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Carla Suárez Navarro got off to a winning start at the 2016 Olympic tennis event in Rio after dodging an early upset bid from Ana Ivanovic to advance 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.
The No.9 seeded Spaniard looked to be in trouble from the start as an on-fire Ivanovic broke her serve in the opening game, then once more for a 4-1 lead. Despite her recurring issues with her serve – namely her ball toss – Ivanovic was able to hold on and grabbed the opening set.
Suárez Navarro found her rhythm in the second and, aided by two Ivanovic double faults in the same game, was able to get her first break of the match and back it up for a 3-0 lead. Three more double faults from the Serbian gave Suárez Navarro the edge again to break to love and even up the scoreboard.
Now down 0-4 in the third, Ivanovic finally snapped Suárez Navarro’s seven-game streak to get herself on the board, but it wasn’t enough to turn around the match. The Spaniard cruised to the second round after an hour and 35 minutes.
Up next for Suárez Navarro is Croatia’s Ana Konjuh. The youngest tennis Olympian competing in the Games this year, 18-year-old Konjuh made her way to the second round by defeating Germany’s Annika Beck 7-6(5), 6-1.
Meanwhile, Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska suffered the biggest upset of the day at the hands of China’s Zheng Saisai. Zheng abruptly ended the No.4 seed’s Olympic campaign after a 6-4, 7-5 win at Barra Olympic Park.
Also through to the second round are Madison Keys, who earlier in the day notched the first win of the Olympic tennis event with her 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Danka Kovinic; Sara Errani, who turned around a first set deficit to battle past Kiki Bertens 4-6, 6-4, 6-3; Barbora Strycova, who defeated Yanina Wickmayer 7-6(6), 6-1; and Kristina Mladenovic, who overcame Aleksandra Krunic 6-1, 6-4.
¡Vamos #Rio2016! ¡¡¡Feliz con mi primera victoria individual!!! ?????? pic.twitter.com/RzOFFwXTBK
— Carla Suarez Navarro (@CarlaSuarezNava) August 6, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Kirsten Flipkens saved her best tennis for the end of the day, taking out four-time Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams in a three hour marathon, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) to close out the opening day of the Olympic tennis event in Rio.
“My dream was to come to Rio, but to beat one of the greatest champions, that’s a second dream coming true,” Flipkens said after the match.
The unseeded Belgian, a first-time Olympian, split sets with Williams as the American took the opening set by imposing her powerful baseline game, but Flipkens battled back aggressive on the return and broke Williams’ serve four times to take the second.
In the deciding set, Flipkens surrendered the first break in the fourth game as Williams built up a 4-2 lead. But just as Williams was serving for the match at 5-3, weariness began to take its toll as the match neared the three-hour mark. Flipkens fought back and the match went to a tiebreak, where Williams’ errors at the net ended up costing her the match.
“I was already thinking in the third set that it was one of the most epic matches I’ve ever played,” Flipkens said. “I said to myself before the match that I would just enjoy the match and give 200% on each point.”
“I felt like I could win the match but at the same time I was enjoying it so much it was hard to keep focused. You’re playing Venus Williams, not some junior.”
Earlier in the day, another American was knocked out of the competition as Eugenie Bouchard defeated Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-3.
“I felt good out there, I was just trying to be very solid and I think I did that well,” Bouchard said. “I don’t think I gave her too many chances. I was there on every one of the return games. I was pushing her and I was close to breaking her a couple of times, so I am happy mentally. I was very focused.”
Bouchard grabbed the decisive break early on in both sets, and backed them up with aggressive play to book her spot in round two after an hour and fifteen minutes.