This was a match-up featuring two players who have had lots of success on US hardcourts this year.
Pennetta won the biggest WTA title of her career at Indian Wells in March. Williams won Miami and Stanford, and in fact came into this encounter 11-0 on US hardcourts in 2014. Both players were impressive in straight set second round wins on Wednesday, Pennetta beating Taylor Townsend and Williams holding off Samantha Stosur in two tie-breaks.
The Turning Point
Williams took control right away, capturing the first three games of the match en route to a comfortable first set win. She got off to an even better start in the second set, taking the first five games. Pennetta then staged a brief rally before Williams closed out her 6-2, 6-2 triumph.
By The Numbers
Williams had more winners than unforced errors, almost always an indication of victory for her. The ratio was 28 to 25, while Pennetta's was 15 to 18. Williams broke serve five times while saving four of five break points on her own serve, not surprising considering she leads the WTA in that category.
All that added up to Williams improving to 5-0 against the Italian.
"I got an early break and just didn't let go," Williams said. "That's what I wanted to do because she has the ability to come back. Even in the end she tried to make a comeback, but I just stayed focused."
"Playing Jelena is always a challenge," Williams said. "She plays really well and gets a lot of balls back. She's an intense player. It will be interesting."