Serena Williams showed all of her ability last Monday during the second round of the Madrid Open. Williams defeated Russian Vera Dushevina in three tight sets 6-7, 7-6 y 7-6. The match, that lasted approximately 3 and half hours, was quite emotional for both the fans and the players. For Serena this match was one of the longest and more mentally demanding matches that she has played in her professional career.
Williams, who won her twelfth Grand Slam's title last January at the Australian Open, was inactive for three months due to an injury right after winning the Australian major. She came back to play in Roma where she finished semifinalist. Now at the Madrid Masters, Serena's journey at the tournament was close to end since Dushevina gave her a hard fight in the second round, by winning the first set 7-6. However, Serena fought hard in the last two sets to obtain the victory.
During the first set, none of the players could break the serve. When the match was 3-2 in the initial set, Serena had to leave the court due to perpetual thigh and back problems, but she return a few minutes later with her right thigh wrapped and ready play again. However, in spite of Williams' effort, the Russian obtained the victory in the first set 6-7.
In the second set, things were still hard for the 28-year-old American, who couldn? find her game sometimes in the set. Dushevina had two break points but she let her opportunities slip away. Nevertheless with great fight and determination, the world No.1 won the second set after saving a match point in the tie-breaker, preserving the set with a 7-6 win.
Entering the third set, Williams got the advantage early with a 2-0. Then the Russian fought back and Serena committed too many unforced errors, giving points to Dushevina to tie the scoring, 2-2.
In a break between games midway through the final set, Serena's trainer was called into the court to attend her. After being treated, Serena struggled with some bad shots and wasted a match point with a backhand when she was 6-4 up in the last of the three tie-breaks she faced during this match. However, Serena's mental resilience prevailed and with her ninth ace, the American closed the set with a victory shout and a 7-6 score.
At the end of the match, Serena said that she was aware that she wasn't playing at her best level, but she kept fighting until the end anyway.
"When I shout like that it's just to get energized. I really try to get myself going. I need energy and I need emotion to help me play better. I definitely wasn't playing my best tennis and I was far off from playing well but after three hours I thought I had better win. I really wanted to win today because I really wanted to get some matches under my belt," stated the world No.1, Serena Williams.
With this victory, the number one female player avoided the fate of three other champions of Grand Slam events: Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova, who were eliminated from Madrid in the first round. Now Serena Williams hopes to do better in the next match.