Serena Williams needed to come through another battle, reaching the third round of the “Cincinnati” Masters 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-6(0) on Monday against Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus
The American, bidding for a 24th Grand Slam singles title, was fully tested for the second consecutive match at the tournament minus fans being played inside a restricted health bubble.
The 38-year-old Williams won the pair’s only previous match at Wimbledon two years ago.
Williams needed two and three-quarter hours to advance at the tournament she won twice, which is being played at the US Open venue in New York due to the COVID-19 threat.
I’m just taking it one day at a time and enjoying each match I get to play.”
“I’m trying to think of the last time I played a three-hour match,” Williams said.
“It was a real physical match out there, I really thought I played pretty well. “I was aggressive, hitting some good shots and she kept fighting.”
Marie Bouzkova knocked out fellow Czech and third seed Petra Kvitova 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory in two and a half hours.
Double Wimbledon winner Kvitova didn’t have an answer for the No. 48 who played the Monterrey WTA final in March prior to the virus onslaught.
“I had the match in my hands in the second set,” Kvitova said. “That’s how it is. It was my first match after such a long time, even I played some matches in Czech,”
Bouzkova became only the fifth countrywoman to beat two-time New York semi-finalist Kvitova against 35 who were defeated by the Grand Slam champion.
Kvitova went down fighting, saving four match points.
Johanna Konta earned a win for Britain, beating Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-0.
The player who suffered with a high heart rate this month during a match in Lexington, said that the problem has not returned but added that she would be getting tested upon her return home.
She said that life inside the quarantine bubble has settled into a rhythm, though it remains a strange experience after the five-month tennis lockdown.
“It’s a very odd situation to be in: everybody is short on matches.
“Everybody is looking to just get their feet under them again and just start playing. This is a very different environment (as we play) a different tournament at the US Open the week before the US Open.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time and enjoying each match I get to play.”