Monday, 23 January 2017

Serena wins close one

On a hot summer day in Melbourne Serena Williams, now the highest seed left in the women's singles draw, was doing battle in the fourth round with 16th seed Barbora Strycova.
Serena made light work of fellow American Nicole Gibbs in the third round, and Barbora accounted for French player and 21st seed Caroline Garcia in straight sets.

Serena served first and a Strycova winning forehand plus a Williams shot pushed wide brought up triple break point.
The first was saved, but not the next and it was 1-0 Strycova.
A double fault and two forehand crosscourt winners from the Williams racquet evened things at 1-1 before double faults plagued Serena and the third successive break arrived.

Four from four as Barbora couldn't win a point on serve, games now 2-2.
A backhand winner from Serena had 15-0 and Barbira in a heap on the ground.  Better serving gave the second seed a game point and she held for a 3-2 lead.

Two Serena errors gave Barbora a 30-0 lead, and a Czech forehand crosscourt winner produced three game points.  3-3 was reached on the second of these.

A service winner from Serena received a backhand pass in response.  Two mistakes followed and the first break point converted.  Strycova had a surprise lead 4-3.
Serena pushed Barbora wide and came in for the volley kill.  0-15.  At the net again, the Strycova lob did Serena over and it was 15-15.
A timely big serve tied things at 30-30 but a lovely off forehand winner from Serena created created break back point.  Saved.  A similar Serena shot wasn't a clean winner but forced an error and another break point.  This time the break back occurred. 4-4.

Loose shots on either side by Serena were more than compensated by a fine mix of all court tennis which resulted in her holding serve and having the chance to attack the Strycova delivery to snatch the set.

Barbora served at 4-5.  Williams attacked the Strycova backhand and had set point which was saved when the net was assaulted for the umpteenth time.  A second set point also left without a trace, and a third was squashed with a big serve.
Serena drew some luck with a net cord and a fourth opportunity came her way.
However smart tennis completed with a touch volley winner at the net by Strycova followed by a brilliant off forehand pass, leaving Serena stranded at the net, and games were 5-5.

Serena breezed through her service game to be ahead 6-5 and a tie break was the worst that could happen now for her in set one.
Two unforced errors put Barbora in trouble at 0-30.  A backhand return winner gave Serena three set points.  Two were saved, the net her enemy again.  Deuce arrived, but Strycova was down another set point straight away.  Luck with the mishit and the set was finally with Serena 7-5.

And so it should have been considering the chances - four service breaks from twelve opportunities.  Strycova three from four.

A much better start to set two for Serena and she held for a 1-0 lead.
Three poor Williams returns assisted Barbora to move to 1-1.  Games remained on serve as Serena was solid in the third, finishing with a down the line winner. 2-1.

It took some time but Serena's constant pressure took its toll and Barbora finally lost her serve to trail 1-3.
4-1 on top of a clinical service game from the world number two - which position won't stay that way should she progress at the current rate in the tournament.

Both players encountered little resistance in holding serves and advancing the scoreline to 2-5 Strycova, with her to serve and stay in the tournament.

Williams was unhappy not to be able to pressure Strycova as the Czech player served a love game and pushed the score to 3-5, but secretly Serena would be just wanting to serve this one out as soon as possible.

Well Strycova had other ideas and she broke thanks to some careless Williams tennis.
A stunning Strycova backhand pickup and pass for 30-15 was given a typical Serena reply and 30-30.  Match point came and a Strycova forehand into the net finished the match with Serena the second Williams sister into the quarter finals 7-5 6-4.

No comments:

Post a Comment