Following her first loss since 2014 in Madrid, Serena Williams returned to her winning ways in Rome this week and will now look to further her campaign ahead of the French Open. Williams will next encounter fellow American Christina McHale, whom she has never faced previously on the professional tour, and whom she should hold a significant edge against.
In her first match since having her 27-match win streak snapped in the semi-final stage of last week’s Madrid Open, Serena Williams was back on court on Tuesday, where she won her match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets to advance to the following round of the tournament. The American struck 25 winners to win the match 6-1, 6-3. It needed little fuss, as Williams swatted away all attempts to throttle her and closed out the affair in one hour and two minutes of court time.
“I love Rome. I always love coming to Rome,” the American said. “I have always liked playing in Europe in general. It’s always been a special place for me, and I am always sad when I leave.”
Williams will next encounter her fellow countrywoman Christina McHale, who set up the encounter against the world No. 1 with a straight sets win against Sara Errani. She struck four aces, won 72% of her first service points and converted five breaks of serve to win the match 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 34 minutes. The upset win may give McHale the necessary momentum to believe in herself against the dominant Williams.
This is just the first time that Williams and McHale will cross paths on the professional tour, and while it could make for an entertaining berth, Williams has proven to be far ahead of the majority of the WTA talent that she comes up against. Unless she is far from her best, this should end in straight sets.
Prediction: Serena Williams in Straight Sets