Serena Gets 650th Career Match Win
Published May 08, 2014 12:15
The pressure was on both players Thursday - Williams the two-time defending champion at the Premier Mandatory-level event trying to get back into the quarterfinals, and going for her 650th career match win too, and Suárez Navarro the Spanish No.1 on a hot streak, trying to make her home crowd proud.
The only problem for Suárez Navarro? Williams had dominated their head-to-head. Not just in the final results, winning all three of their previous meetings, but also within those meetings, winning by some very lopsided scorelines: first 6-0, 6-3, then 6-2, 6-0 and a dubious 6-0 6-0 at last year's US Open.
The Turning Point
Early on there was no turning point. Williams' power was just too much for Suárez Navarro, as she barreled through the first set, 6-2. While Suárez Navarro was by far the more consistent player on the court - she hit just one unforced error in the opening set compared to Williams' 15 - it was all about the winners, as Williams threw down 13 of them, compared to a lonely one winner for the Spaniard.
Suárez Navarro opened up her shoulders more in the second set, hitting four winners and breaking twice, but she hit 14 unforced - meanwhile Williams had a tidier 14 winners to 11 unforced and won five of the last six games of the match to close it out, 6-2, 6-3. She hit her first ace on match point.
By The Numbers
The biggest number of the day was 650 - Williams' new total of career match wins, making her the 11th player in WTA history to reach that milestone, after Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Virginia Wade, Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, Lindsay Davenport, Conchita Martínez, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Billie Jean King and Venus Williams (who is actually just ahead of her little sister with 651).
Williams has now won her last 29 matches against Spaniards. Her last loss to a Spaniard came 15 years ago in the quarterfinals of Berlin in 1999 (she retired against Sánchez-Vicario with an arm injury).
"I feel like she played really well today," Williams said. "She made me work for every point and it wasn't an easy win. I think that was her goal today, was to put on a really good show and play really hard and show me what she's capable of. She's obviously capable of doing a lot on the court.
"She just won a title last week, so she's definitely not an easy player to play."
Next up for Williams is No.5 seed Petra Kvitova, who rebounded from an early 4-0 hole to beat Lucie Safarova earlier in the day, 6-4, 6-3. Williams has beaten Kvitova in all five of their previous meetings, though they've never played each other on clay - and Kvitova won this title too, back in 2011.