Venus ready for Australian Open
Venus Williams believes she is on track to perform well at this month's Australian Open after remaining unbeaten in singles at the Hopman Cup.
Williams bowed out of the mixed-teams tournament on a winning note, defeating Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues in straight sets on Thursday to complete a clean sweep of her three singles matches.
But her hopes of winning the Hopman Cup were dashed when US teammate John Isner pulled out of the tournament with a knee problem earlier in the day.
The 32-year-old had been hoping to get one more singles match under her belt in Saturday's final, before heading to Melbourne to hit the practice courts ahead of the year's first Grand Slam starting January 14.
Williams, who has not been past the fourth round of a Grand Slam since the 2010 US Open, felt she improved with each outing at the Hopman Cup.
"I got to play a lot and got to pull a lot out of myself," she said.
"I felt like with every match my serve got better, and this was my best day I have returned, and for my consistency.
"That is what I wanted, and with one more match I think I would have been even better. I am pretty happy with my form."
Williams has won seven Grand Slam singles titles but none since 2008.
She hopes to build on her 2012 comeback, when she climbed to 24 in the world after slipping to 134th due to injury and illness – most notably Sjögren's Syndrome, a systemic auto-immune disease.
The Hopman Cup was her first tournament after winning her first title since 2010 in Luxembourg in October.
She opened her account in Perth with a three-set win over South Africa's Chanelle Scheepers and then came from a set down to beat France's Mathilde Johansson.
The 50th-ranked Medina Garrigues shaped up as her toughest challenge of the week, especially given the former world No 1's mixed form, but Williams produced her best form of the week to cruise to victory, 6-3, 6-4.
Williams hit 30 winners to just nine from the Spaniard, and is content to enter the Australian Open without another tournament under her belt.
"That is my usual preparation," she said.
"I haven't played before the Australian Open in many, many, many years. I like that preparation, it works for me."