Kirsten Flipkens beat Petra Kvitova for her second Top 10 win, while Serena Williams recovered from a slow start to beat Ayumi Morita. The third round began at the Sony Open Tennis on Saturday.
WTA Staff

MIAMI, FL, USA - Serena Williams started slow but finished fast at the Sony Open Tennis on Saturday night, beating Ayumi Morita in straight sets as the third round of the Premier-level event began.

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Morita came out firing with her two-handed blasts early in the match, winning the first three games and getting to 30-all on Williams' serve in the next game. But the World No.1 came alive from there, reeling off six games in a row to take the set, 6-3. She didn't look back all that much from there, serving up seven aces in the second set - including two in the last game - to beat the Japanese No.1, 63 63.

"I've played her before and she's tough - she plays well, stays really focused and stays really pumped up, which I think is a really good feature," Williams said. "I've said it before - I think she's a really good player. For me every match is tough - I just have to play the best I can on that given day."

Williams actually had a very unique experience before the match, thanks to some heavy traffic.

"The traffic was crazy and everyone was like, 'I've been here for an hour and I'm staying like eight minutes away.' They were in the traffic for an hour. I'm like, 'Okay, I'm not going to make my match if I don't get there,'" Williams explained in her post-match press conference. "So I asked for a golf cart, and the hotel didn't have a golf cart; then they were like, 'We have a motorbike.' I'm like, 'I don't do motorbikes.' They said, 'We have a bicycle.' I said, 'I don't do bicycles, but I will today.' It was fun.

"It was probably one of my best memories ever, riding a bike to a match. That's pretty cool."

There was some disappointing news for the Williams family earlier on, as No.19 seed Venus Williams had to withdraw from her match against No.16 seed Sloane Stephens with a low back injury. "I was having some pain yesterday and wanted to see how I felt in the warm-up today," Williams said in a press conference. "After my warm-up I realized I wouldn't be able to be competitive at all today.

"It's really disappointing. I've faced disappointments in my life and my career - it's not the first, probably not the last. But I just have to get through this one now, stay positive and move forward."

Stephens was looking forward to the match. "I'm a little bummed, but I guess a win is a win, so just onto the next round," she said. "It was okay - I wouldn't say it was a letdown, but you're so ready to play. It was tough, but I guess it's good. I get to play another match. That's always a good thing."

Rounding out the day's winners were No.30 seed Kirsten Flipkens, who upset No.7 seed Petra Kvitova in a see-saw battle, 60 46 61; and No.13 seed Dominika Cibulkova, who beat Romina Oprandi, 63 64, returning particularly well in the match - she broke the Swiss in eight of her nine service games.

Flipkens' win over the No.8-ranked Kvitova was her second Top 10 win, her first coming on the slick lawns of 's-Hertogenbosch last year, over then-World No.5 Samantha Stosur in a tight two-setter.