Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Serena imposes herself on the Open

Serena Williams needed to defeat last years finalist Dominika Cibulkova in the last of the quarter finals if she was to retain her dream of a 19th major.

A first set win would be vital to her chances, but probably more essential for the 11th seed because Serena has proven twice already this event that coming from a set behind is just another method winning.

The opening two games were shared but Cibulkova would not want to be as free with the double faults and expect to escape as lightly as she did in game one.

On the second Cibulkova serve Serena hit winners from both wings to set up break points and she only needed the one to hold a 2-1 lead and she consolidated the advantage courtesy of a couple of winning forehands and an ace.

Already Madison Keys was starting to prepare for another battle with a Williams sister and the feeling that Serena was on a victory march intensified with a further break of the Slovak serve in the fifth game. A Williams winner surrounded by two unforced errors from 30-30 decided the 4-1 lead.

Two aces and another great forehand brought Serena to the precipice of the first set win but Dominika held her back for a moment with some excellent forehands to hold serve and trail 2-5.

A normal player may have been worried after Cibulkova hit a backhand pearler to make it 15-30.  Not Serena, though, who just slammed down three aces to parcel up the set and put it away with her valuables 6-2.

Dominika clearly required a solid start to set two and 15-40 wasn't that. She did ok to close to deuce but was unable to deal with the third break point and expectations of a comeback went out the window.

Cibulkova played a generally better set of tennis, in fact creating two break points on the Williams serve in the fourth game.  Serena reacted with an ace, a service winner, another ace and a backhand winner to thrill the crowd but demoralise her opponent.

Dominika held serve to stay a single break down but that was her final success for the afternoon.

Serena signed the exit pass for a gallant but outclassed Cibulkova in the eighth game winning the match 6-2 6-2

For maybe the first time in the tournament Serena flexed her muscle, and it wasn't a full flex so watch out whoever's left. 

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