Serena Williams will hope to move one step closer to getting that elusive 24th slam with a win against Maria Sakkari on Monday. She will be eager for revenge after her disappointing collapse against the Greek in the Western & Southern Open. She lost from a set up, barely putting up a fight in the last set of the 5-7 7-6 6-1 loss.
Sakkari should break into the top 15 sooner rather than later and has established herself as a solid player at the higher end of the rankings, more than capable of beating the top players – holding a 9-13 record against the top 10. She had played two tough three setters in the opening two rounds before a dominant victory against Amanda Anisimova, breaking five times in the 6-3 6-1 win “It was good to get some quick time on court. I think I played great, you know, super solid and served well. Came up with some good shots when I had to. Very happy with my performance.” she said.
Serena had her first true test of the tournament, needing three sets to see off an improved Sloane Stephens. She had to come from a set down to do so, turning the style on in the second sets off her 2-6 6-2 6-2 win. The turning point came after break point was saved at 2-2 in the second, with the former No.1 holding and breaking as part of five straight games across sets two and three. “I think in the second set, I feel like my serve percentage went up a little more and I had to start making a few more,” she said afterwards. Serena has now hit 32 aces across three matches, something that should put her in good stead for the rest of the tournament.
“I don’t think it’s anything tricky, especially when you lost, it’s good to kind of go back out there and try to do a little bit better.” Serena said on playing Sakkari back to back. She will be eager to avoid another collapse like last week at the Western & Southern Open but there is no doubt that the aura around Serena isn’t as strong as it once was. The American will be gunning for revenge and it is tough to back against her on that basis. Her struggles at slams outside of Paris have not been during the earlier rounds, even in the past few years.
Prediction – Serena Williams in straight sets