World No. 1 Serena Williams will make her return to the WTA tour following a surprising exit at the Wimbledon Championships last month. The American is scheduled to meet Karolina Pliskova on Wednesday in the second round of the Bank of the West Classic tournament. It will mark the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, which always makes for an intriguing encounter.
Top seed Serena Williams has not had the best of seasons so far in 2014. The American failed to capture any major championships this season, losing before the quarter-final stage of all three Grand Slam tournaments placed so far. She lost in the fourth round at the Australian Open, the second round at Roland Garros and the third round of the Wimbledon Championships. The American most recently lost to Alize Cornet at SW19 before having to retire in her doubles match with Venus Williams after hitting four consecutive double faults in the third game of the match.
It was that match that left many fans and pundits alike stunned. Williams looked the worst she has been in years and promptly forfeited the match and took time off the tour for the remainder of July. She then turned her attention to Toronto, where she stopped off to train before heading to Stanford, where she is now prepared for her first US Open series campaign.
Karolina Pliskoba secured her spot in the second round of the tournament with a victory over an opponent 21 years her senior in Kimiko Date-Krumm. The Czech player won the contest 6-1, 6-3 in comfortable fashion to set up her first ever clash with Williams.
This is the first time that Williams and Pliskova will meet on the professional tour, and while the American is coming off a concerning “virus” the odds will still heavily favour her in this contest. Yet this should still be an intriguing encounter, if only to see how Williams handles her first match back on court.
Prediction: Serena Williams in Straight Sets