No Rust In Rome For Dominant Venus
Published May 12, 2014 12:13
A terrific start to the season for Williams that included her 45th WTA title in Dubai and a runner-up showing in Auckland hit a roadblock when an illness kept her out of Madrid. So, she would be back in action for the first time since Charleston at the site of her first WTA clay court final in 1998 and where she was also champion in 1999. She kicked off her 10th Rome outing against 2012 Roland Garros junior champion Annika Beck, who has Top 20 wins over Eugenie Bouchard and Samantha Stosur this season and who was making her Rome debut.
The Turning Point
Down an early break at 2-1 in the first set, Williams won four straight games to take control of that set, which she won comfortably, and in fact won 11 of the next 13 for a 6-3, 6-1 victory.
By The Numbers
Williams was five of seven on break point opportunities and 26 of 34 on first serve points compared to 14 of 29 for Beck. She was especially dominant in the second set, never facing a break point. The win was her 652nd as a professional, putting her two ahead of sister Serena for 10th place on the Open Era list. Twenty-six of those wins have come in Rome. Her nine WTA clay court titles are also one short of Serena Williams and Anabel Medina Garrigues for most among active players.
"After Charleston I put the racket down and wasn't able to play anywhere," Williams said. "I got back on the court a week before Madrid and took the time to get my baseline game going again."
Williams will be going for her 150th clay court win when she takes on the winner of No.13 seed Carla Suárez Navarro and Mona Barthel. She is 1-1 against Suárez Navarro and 2-0 against Barthel.