After missing Miami and Madrid, Serena was finally back on court in Rome yesterday against Nadia Podoroska of Argentina. You have to admit missing a lot of action is not the ideal prep for someone looking for that record breaking grand slam win on her least favorite surface. Not surprisingly the American eight seed found the going tough and was beaten in straight sets by the unseeded Argentine. Serena only got in 48% of her serves in first time which is pretty low but on the plus she had eight Aces and converted all her three break point opportunities.
Nadia did was she had to do to win, make Serena run and run some more given her lack of mobility. Watch 1-0 to Serena, Nadia up(40-15). Williams had the right answers for Nadia when she dropped serve leading to the set reaching a tie breaker. Watch 2-1 to Nadia with Serena looking to break back 30-0 up. When Serena starts hitting that ball with power you know you in trouble. Turning point of the breaker, Nadia up 3-1. When Nadia returned that decent serve from Serena , the American was on the ropes from there on. Podoroska would take it 8-6 despite a valiant effort from Williams who pulled scores level at 6-6 , starting to find those corners.
On to the second set. This is my point of the match.1-0 Nadia scores at 30-30. Nadia’s return is deep on the baseline right into Serena’s body. Williams manages to play the forehand which clipped the line. A shot right into the body is difficult to return but Serena adjusted her feet well to guide the ball within bounds. Williams’s fighting ability will be an asset in Paris. She showed it in this set. With the match practically over with Nadia up 5-2, she clawed her way back with some incredible shots to hold serve, keeping Nadia deep away from her baseline opening up the court. Watch 5-2(40-0) . In the end, Serena’s lack of match sharpness showed with a poor service game to hand the match to the Argentine at 6-5.