Venus Williams: Game, Set and Mismatch at the Australian Open

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Venus Williams celebrates victory during day three of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia.

As the American tennis ace ran across the court in a garish fluorescent top, her namesake, the Roman goddess of beauty, was probably vomiting in the heavens.

Fourth-seeded Williams, who designs tennis outfits for her fashion brand EleVen, turned up for her second round match in Melbourne wearing what appeared to be a lattice pie crust. Having apparently kept ventilation in mind, she crisscrossed yellow spandex from belly button to breast, leaving plenty of flesh on show. She paired that rather loud top with a skimpy satin skirt, the color of a dirty water puddle filled with gasoline. It barely concealed what she describes as her “nude shorts.”

(More on Time.Com: The Top 10 Tennis Rivalries.)

And while her outfit was a far cry from the black-and-red can-can outfit with a corset-like top she wore at the French Open last May, her sartorial shortcomings have once again set the critics alight. British tabloid the Sun dubbed it “one of the worst dresses ever worn at a Grand Slam” and wondered if someone had “gone at it with a pair of scissors.” The Twittersphere has been equally cruel, with one user suggesting that the older of the Williams sisters has a hemline inversely proportional to her age.

The pain of that reality extended to the match, too. Williams lost the first set tiebreak to her Czech opponent Sandra Zahlavova, and fought back tears after leaving the court for a medical timeout after inuring her stomach or groin. She came back with a heavily bandaged thigh and staged a comeback to win 6-7 (6), 6-0, 6-4.

“I had to just calm myself down,” she told the Associated Press. “In the middle of a match like that, you can get a little hysterical.” Apparently that can happen in the design studio, too. (via The Sun)

(More on Time.Com: Read TIME’s 2001 cover story on Venus and Serena.)

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