Following a comfortable start to her campaign at the Mutua Madri Open, world No. 1 Serena Williams will next face China’s Shuai Peng for a spot in the third round of the tournament. This marks the third time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Williams leading the series with an unbeaten 2-0 record.
Several weeks ago, Williams had her momentum Charleston, where she lost to Jana Cepelova in the opening round. The Slovak was ranked 77 spot below her in the WTA rankings, and managed to stop the American from wining her third consecutive title at that event. This prompoted Williams to take the rest of the month off from tennis, and explained that she was “really just dead,” and needed “some weeks off” to not think about tennis.
Clearly the time off worked wonders on the American, as she stormed through her opening match against Swiss youngster Belinda Bencic. Williams faced two break points in her opening service game but did not falter, eventually snatching the match 6-2, 6-1 to reach the second round of the event.
China’s Peng also cruised into the second round with a straight sets victory over Japan’s Kurumi Nara. She defeated Nara 6-2, 6-3 to set up the entertaining encounter with Serena.
This marks the third time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Williams leading the series with an unbeaten 2-0 record. Both victories took place on hard courts in 2009, first at the Australian Open, then followed by the Miami Masters. Both ended in straight sets, which will likely be the case in their third encounter.
Prediction: Serena Williams in Straight Sets