Sunday, 24 January 2016

Serena beats another Russian - Maria next

44 minutes was all it took for Serena Williams to win her third round match and she was not expected to need much more than that to win her fourth round clash with Margarita Gasparyan, ranked 58 in the world.  The unheralded Russian, very new to the tour, had upset Sara Errani in the first round, so was sure to give a good account, but even her best was not a threat to the top seed who had hit form earlier than normal for her in a GS tournament.

Serena started by dropping serve, losing the first three points not helping.  1-0 to Margarita. After the Russian hit an ace, Serena replied with two winners, and with two break points things seemed back on track.  Those were saved but not the next which was set up with a Serena forehand. 1-1.

That famous forehand assisted Williams through the next service game and she led 2-1.  Serena then monstered her opponent and brought up three break points.  Margarita saved two with a backhand winner then an ace.  Not enough though and Serena broke for 3-1.  

Serena continued smashing her way through her service games and she extended the lead to 4-1, appropriately sealed with a forehand smash winner.  Taken to deuce, Margarita served an ace and won the game but still was behind a break 2-4.

Serena forced four errors and claimed the seventh game then broke the Russian serve to take the set 6-2.

This was not going to be a long match by the look of things.

Serena continued to frustrate the Russian backhand, and forced more mistakes from that side on the way to winning the first game of set two.  Some rare Williams mistakes donated a game to Margarita and she was level at 1-1.

That was the final success for the Russian player as Serena floated through the remainder of the match, not facing a break point but breaking Margarita twice.

The top seed was at or near her best again as she won 6-2 6-1 and after wins over two players from Russia in the last two rounds she would face another in the quarter final in the form of Maria Sharapova.  The last 17 times they have met have been losses for Maria so that is something Serena would like to continue.

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