The third time wasn't a charm for Venus Williams.
The former world No. 1 competed in her third tournament since an illness sidelined her at the end of the 2011 season. In her other two tournaments, Miami and Charleston, S.C., Williams made her way to the quarterfinal round.
Her run ended earlier than that on the blue courts of the Madrid Open today. Williams lost to 12th-seeded Angelique Kerber, 6-4, 6-1.
From the WTA:
"I'm very happy I could beat Venus. She's a great player, a great champion and has won so many Grand Slams," Kerber said. "I played very well from the first point, so I'm very happy about it. It means a lot to me to win against her."
While Williams is a seven-time Grand Slam champion, Kerber has had better results in recent tournaments. When Williams pulled out of the U.S. Open in September during the first round, Kerber made it all the way to the semifinals, her first. She's also won two titles, at Paris and Copenhagen, but told the WTA she likes all the surfaces.
"It doesn't matter to me where I play - blue clay, red clay, hardcourts," she said. "The blue clay is a little bit different though. It's very slippery and the balls bounce a little bit higher, but I feel good on it, and I'm in the third round now. I hope to continue like this."