Venus Williams hobbled out of the Australian Open Wednesday after a straight-sets loss to Italian qualifier Sara Errani, departing from her record 21st appearance at Melbourne Park as a disconsolate figure.
The seven-time Grand Slam winner rolled an ankle late in the first set and offered little resistance after that, crashing 6-1, 6-0 in 75 minutes.
“I’m not happy to win like that,” Errani, ranked 134, said. “I’m so sad for her. It isn’t easy playing someone injured.”
Williams, 40, appeared to roll her right ankle mid-point while attempting a volley, down 5-1 in the opening set, screaming in agony and seeking medical attention.
The American had her ankle strapped as she cut a dejected figure, but decided to gamely fight on.
Williams, who also had strapping to her left knee reapplied, was noticeably hampered and could barely exert force on serve as the match petered out.
An amazing 27 years after making her professional debut, two-time Australian Open finalist Williams had beaten Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium in the first round.
Errani next plays Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan who upset eighth seed Bianca Andreescu.