Saturday, 21 January 2017

Serena with plenty to spare

Nicole Gibbs and Serena Williams were next on RLA and their third round match was an all American affair - Serena hot favourite of course, as is always the case.  The second seed had beaten two former top ten players to arrive here, Belinda Bencic and Lucie Safarova, both in fine style, and Nicole had arranged departure packages for Timea Babos and Irina Falconi.

Serena and Nicole have played once before - in Stanford in 2012 - as if that matters at all.  Shock and horror, Serena won on that occasion, as she should today, in straight sets.

Gibbs began reasonably ok, and it was on serve after three games, but with Nicole serving at 1–2 and 15-30, two screaming forehands from Serena put everyone on notice that serious business was about to occur.
Williams led 3-1.

Comfortable hold from the champ and 4-1 was the reward.

Even as Gibbs appeared to be closing in on a 2-4 position, it was clear that Serena was desperate not to allow this to happen.  She unleashed her weapons and broke again, then cruised to a first set win 6-1.

Nicole won her first game for quite a while and led the second set 1-0, some delightful forehands a useful accessory.
Awesome power unavailable to mortal humans, was switched on when Serena served to level at 1-1.

Then the first break.  Nicole had two game points, but let it slide to deuce.  Then a couple of double faults, each bringing up a break point, the second one being converted with an unforced error.  2-1 to Serena.

The seventh game saw the second break and Serena now led 5-2.  
Although she wouldn't have been happy with losing a game while serving for the match, Serena Williams will have been satisfied to have limited the 'damage' by parceling it up the very next game by breaking the Gibbs serve once more.

The six times champ won 6-1 6-3.  Next up in the fourth round is Czech player Barbora Strycova, and the unforced error count will need to be trimmed a little against the 16th seed.

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