Last Update 21:38
Saturday, 19 October 2019

Tennis: Serena wins first match since Wimbledon final, Osaka advances

AFP , Thursday 8 Aug 2019
Serena Williams
Serena Williams (AFP)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1060
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1060

Serena Williams looked solid in her first match since losing the Wimbledon final, defeating 20th-ranked Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday at the WTA Toronto tournament.

The 37-year-old American, one crown shy of a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title, advanced in 75 minutes at her first US Open hardcourt tuneup event.

"I feel like my movement is great -- been working on my fitness, so I felt like it really was able to shine through today," Williams said.

"I'm loving going out there and I'm loving kind of running. So it's a good thing."

Also moving into the third round was Japan's Naomi Osaka, the reigning US and Australian Open champion. She won after taking the first set 6-2 when Germany's Tatjana Maria retired with a left abdominal injury.

With Osaka's triumph, Australian Ashleigh Barty was ensured of being dethroned next week as world number one, although it could be Czech Karolina Pliskova instead of Osaka who swipes the top spot.

Williams, ranked 10th, seeks her fourth WTA Canada crown after 2001, 2011 and 2013 and improved her match record at the event to 31-4, winning half the 10 break points she earned against Mertens.

"Now that I'm just injury-free, I'm just enjoying being able to train, and I haven't been able to do it since January, really," Williams said.

"So I just think that the fact that I can train and practice and get in the gym is really going to be helpful for me."

Mertens broke for a 2-1 lead but Williams answered in the sixth game to pull level at 3-3.

"I know when I got down one break I got real negative," Williams said. "I don't know what happened on the first time I got down. (She) just played really well. She's obviously a really good player. I just needed to just double down and get more focused."

Next in the path of the former world number one will be Russian qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova, who eliminated China's Zhang Shuai 6-4, 6-3.

Osaka had not played a match since losing to Yulia Putintseva in the first round at Wimbledon.

"I thought I played really well despite the fact that we only played one set," Osaka said. "I was able to do what I wanted, which was go for the shots that I had the opportunity to.

"And, of course, there were a couple unforced errors, but I think that's part of the process.

"For me, I'm just happy that it was my first match in a while and I was able to get in the groove of things quickly."

The victory gives Osaka the inside track on taking the top spot in Monday's new rankings.

- Pliskova eyes No. 1 -

Pliskova could overtake Barty, the French Open champion who lost in Toronto on Tuesday, and Osaka both after beating 37th-ranked American Alison Riske 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2.

The 27-year-old Czech must reach the semi-finals for any chance at taking world number one, but if Osaka makes the last eight, Pliskova must reach the final to have a hope at being number one next week.

Pliskova will next play Estonia's 19th-ranked Anett Kontaveit, who made the third round when Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro retired with an injury at 7-5, 3-1 down.

Romanian fourth seed Simona Halep outlasted American Jennifer Brady 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/5).

Ukraine teen Dayana Yastremska beat two-time major winner and former number one Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 7-5.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at@AO_Sportsand on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.