Monday 1 May 2017

'Tight' Serena flirts with danger before marching on

Williams was far from dominant in the second round of the US Open last night, before pulling ahead and pulling out a 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over Kiki Bertens
Williams was far from dominant in the second round of the US Open last night, before pulling ahead and pulling out a 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over Kiki Bertens
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

This was, in just about every measurable way, an up-and-down performance by Serena Williams, filled with double-faults - 10 in all - and two dozen other unforced errors.

With her bid for a calendar Grand Slam at stake, and facing a qualifier ranked only 110th, Williams was far from dominant in the second round of the US Open last night, before pulling ahead and pulling out a 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over Kiki Bertens.

"Today, I was a little tight," Williams said in her on-court interview. "I think it showed."

Sure did.

She got broken early. She didn't manage to earn a break point against the strong-serving Bertens until the 10th game.

But as the 33-year-old American has demonstrated time and time again during her remarkable career, she can bring out her best when she needs it.

"I know that I can try to make a comeback," Williams said, "or try to make a run for it."

Roused

Williams finally roused herself to break back when Bertens served for the first set at 5-4.

Then in the tiebreaker, Williams trailed 4-0, before turning things around, helped by shaky play from her Dutch opponent, who only once has made it to the third round at a major tournament in 14 appearances.

Williams, in contrast, has won the past four major titles, a streak that began at last year's US Open, and 21 overall.

If she can win five more matches at Flushing Meadows - starting in the third round against Bethanie Mattek-Sands in an all-US match-up tomorrow - Williams would complete the first calendar-year Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988.

Meanwhile, defending champion Marin Cilic powered into the third round of the men's event with a 6-2 6-3 7-5 demolition of Russia's Evgeny Donskoy.

US Open, live, Eurosport 3.45/Sky Sports 1 4.0

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