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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Venus Williams was in the middle of a first-set tiebreaker at the Australian Open on Wednesday when her mother yelled some encouragement from the players' box at Rod Laver Arena.
Oracene Price's urges to "fight" were clearly intended for her daughter, but they appeared to immediately fall on deaf ears, and with good reason. On the last point of the tiebreaker she eventually lost, Venus hurt herself on a twisting backhand volley.
Writhing in pain and clutching near her stomach as she walked back to her courtside chair, a WTA trainer was called and Williams took a medical timeout. A few minutes later, she returned with her upper right thigh taped and a whole new attitude.
She later said she injured her "psoas" muscle, which flexes the hip and spinal column.
"It was really tough, but I'm a long way from home and it's such a long way I didn't want to go back yet," Williams said after surviving through a 6-7 (6), 6-0, 6-4 second-round win over her Czech opponent, Sandra Zahlavova.
"You've got to be able to play under all kinds of circumstances — good, bad, strange, weird, all of the above. I had to just calm myself down. In the middle of a match like that, you can get a little hysterical."
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