Monday 27 February 2017

Serena finds old sparkle

Anna Kessel

Serena Williams appears to be back in her groove. Giggling her way through the post-match press conference following her first straight-sets win of the tournament -- against the No 26 seed Maria Kirilenko -- the four-times Wimbledon singles champion was in buoyant mood.

It was all in stark contrast to her anger and affront just days earlier over the issue of being made to play on Court 2. But against Kirilenko she was back in the grander surroundings of Court 1 and seemingly prepared to forget the controversy.

"I think we saw three women's matches on the show courts, which was the first time," she said. "It's always good to see three women's and three men's matches. You know, it is what it is."

There was a renewed sparkle around the No 7 seed. She practically beamed when asked if she agreed with bookmakers establishing her as one of the favourites to win the title for a fifth time. "Um, I wouldn't bet against me," she said with a grin.

And she had a point. Having dropped a set in each of her first two matches, the 29-year-old swiftly dispatched Kirilenko -- despite the Russian posing a few problems along the way -- finally winning 6-3 6-2.

Next up Williams faces the No 9 seed Marion Bartoli of France, a highly idiosyncratic player who reached the Wimbledon final in 2007 only to be defeated by Venus Williams.

After so much adversity -- the mystery illness that almost killed her last year -- what was the single best thing that had happened to Serena Williams since? "Well I'm here and I'm alive. And I don't take any moment for granted," she said.

Sunday Indo Sport

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