ROME, Italy - World No.1 Serena Williams showed no ill effects of the left thigh injury that forced her to withdraw before her Madrid quarterfinal last week in beating Germany's Andrea Petkovic in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Wednesday.
Williams surely hoped to get some matches under her belt in her last event before Roland Garros. Former Top 10 player Petkovic could be a challenge for her, having taken a set off her here four years ago and having won her biggest WTA title on clay in Charleston earlier this year. She also had one previous win over a World No.1 on her résumé, upending Caroline Wozniacki at Miami in 2011.
The Turning Point
Williams jumped on Petkovic instantly, breaking her at love to open the match and winning the next three games as well en route to a routine first set win. The second set was more of the same, with Williams breaking Petkovic twice for a 3-0 lead and going on to a 6-2, 6-2 victory.
By The Numbers
Williams dropped just eight points on her first serve and didn't face a break point in the second set as she picked up her 10th consecutive win in Rome. In fact, she has won 17 straight sets here and hasn't dropped more than three games in any of them.
"I am very happy," Williams said. "I wasn't sure how the leg was going to be because how it feels in practice can be different than in a match. But it was good and I'll continue to do the same treatment.
"I knew I was going to play. I am such a competitor and it broke my heart to pull out of Madrid, especially being the defending champ. I'm not 100%, but I feel it's not going to get worse, and it's getting better, so that's good."
Williams plays fellow American Varvara Lepchenko, whom she defeated in straight sets in their only previous encounter in Brisbane in 2013. She will be seeking her 652nd professional match win, which would tie her with sister Venus for 10th place on the Open Era list.