WTA Miami: Serena Williams struggles but beats Rebecca Peterson

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WTA Miami: Serena Williams struggles but beats Rebecca Peterson

The 10th seed and the eight-time Miami champion Serena Williams is through to the third round after a 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 win over Rebecca Peterson in an hour and 37 minutes. This was only the eighth match for Serena in 2019 and there were some worrying signs for her fans in set number two, winning just 15 points and barely being able to move before she found the confidence again in the decider to avoid an early exit and stay in the tournament.

Serving at 54% the 23-time singles Grand Slam champion suffered four breaks from seven chances she offered to the Swede, overcoming that deficit with four breaks from ten chances, having the upper hand in sets she won to secure the place in the last 32.

Rebecca drew first blood in the opening game of the match when Serena netted a backhand, losing the advantage already in game two when her forehand landed long. Both players served well in the next five games and it was Serena who made a move in game eight with a well-constructed attack, opening a 5-3 lead and forcing an error from the Swede in game nine for a 6-3 after 33 minutes, hoping for more of the same in the rest of the encounter.

Peterson saved two break points in the third game of the second set and that gave her a boost of confidence, securing a break in the fourth game after a terrible forehand from Williams and extending the gap to 5-1 with a forehand down the line winner.

A service winner in the following game earned a hold at love and the set for the lower-ranked player who had the momentum before the decider against the rival who played way below her usual level. Saving a break point at the start of the final set, Serena found the necessary confidence and broke at 15 a few minutes later when Rebecca hit a double fault.

The American never looked back, sailing through her service games and clinching another break in game six before sealing the deal with an unreturned serve in the next game to cross the finish line and grab the first win at new Miami Open venue.