Cincinnati: Former World No.1 Serena Williams looked sharp in her return to the hard courts after a week-long break and thrashed Daria Gavrilova 6-1 6-2 here Monday to advance to the second round of the WTA Cincinnati Masters tennis tournament.
Serena cracked eight aces and was never broken as she dispatched the 24-year-old Australian. “I realised after Wimbledon that this is a journey for me,” the 36-year-old Serena stated.
“It’s (titles) going to come and I’m taking it one day at a time. I’m just fortunate to be back here on these courts playing tennis. Everything is truly amazing,” added the American.
Next up for the 23-time Grand Slam champion is a second-round clash Tuesday with two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, who had a first round bye.
Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus came from behind to defeat Johanna Konta 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in their first round tussle.
Konta had 10 double faults and was broken four times by the 20-year-old, who will next face big-serving ninth seed Karolina Pliskova.
Another former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka also advanced to the second round with a hard-fought win over Carla Suarez Navarrao of Spain 6-7(5) 6-2 6-4. Azarenka is currently ranked 87th in the world and is trying to work her way back into the top 10.
US Open finalist in 2017 Madison Keys also moved ahead. Keys, the 11th seed, fired 13 aces as she eliminated fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-7(3-7), 6-4.
Earlier, Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko beat Danielle Collins of the United States 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the next round where she will be facing defending champion, Garbine Muguruza while Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit crushed Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-0.