Serena Williams went down to defeat as she played the 1000th match of her career on Wednesday, a 7-6(6), 7-5 victim of Nadia Podoroska in the Rome Masters second round.
The eighth-seeded Williams had not competed since February in Melbourne while her Argentine opponent was playing only her second clay match of the Roland Garros run-up.
The 39-year-old American, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, had eight aces and broke her French Open semi-finalist opponent three times while losing her own serve twice per set in the two-hour battle.
“Maybe I do need a few more matches,” Williams said. “I’m going to try to figure that out with my coach and my team.
“I’ve been training for months, but it feels definitely different on clay to make that last adjustment.
“It was definitely kind of good to go the distance and to try to be out there, but clearly I can do better.”
Williams has won the Rome title four times while the 24-year-old Pdodroska is making her debut at the Foro Italico.
“Overall, it was good for me to play such a clay court player on clay today, but it’s a little frustrating. But it’s all right. It is what it is,” Williams said.
Main photo:- Nadia Podoroska celebrates beating Serena Williams in her 1000th match – by WTATennis.com