United States tennis star, Venus Williams, has been eliminated from the ASB Classic tournament after losing to a Chinese player, Zhu Lin, during a round of 16-tie.
Williams blew a 5-3 last-set lead in a match that stretched over nearly seven hours because of rain in losing 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 to her opponent.
The 42-year-old star on Thursday fought through every moment of the second-round match which began after noon and ended near 7pm, which began outdoors and ended indoors, and which contained 13 service breaks before finally tipping in favour of Zhu in the last few games.
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Williams, starting her 30th year on the WTA Tour, won her first tour match in nearly two years when she beat Katie Volynets on Monday in the first round of the Auckland tournament.
Before this tournament, she played only four matches in 2022 and was hoping to progress to the second round of a tournament for the first time since 2019.
Earlier, top-seeded American female player, Coco Gauff, would be facing Zhu in the quarterfinals after her 6-4, 6-4 win over compatriot Sofia Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion.
Gauff, who was ranked seventh, played indoors and beat Kenin in just under 90 minutes, levelling their head-to-head record after Kenin beat Gauff en route to the Australian Open title.
Danka Kovinic, the seventh seed, beat former champion Lauren Davis 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, and qualifier Rebeka Masarova beat Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-4.