- Updates from a star-studded day of tennis at Melbourne Park
- Ash Barty can buck trend of home pressure
- Any thoughts? Email or tweet @JPHowcroft
Second set: Williams* 6-0 3-2 Potapova (*denotes server): There are fewer cheap points on offer now for Williams who is forced to work hard to share the opening two points of the game. An ace is then undermined by a wide forehand crosscourt, so what does Serena do? Another ace – 188 kph! Potapova is matching her stroke for stroke though and forces deuce by constantly hitting behind her opponent, keeping her on the defensive.
For the second game in a row Serena faces a break point, this time with an unforced error, but she saves it despite plenty of hustle from Potapova. “Come on!” Williams bellows, unusually amped for what looks such a routine opening round contest. That routine resuming with a couple of powerful serves allowing an unexpectedly tough hold.
Second set: Williams 6-0 2-2 Potapova* (*denotes server): Potapova is working into the contest now. She loses the opening point but makes Serena earn it, then prevails in a long rally full of intent for 15-15. An ace puts her in front but one of the rallies of the match draws Williams level again. These rallies are now much more evenly balanced than in the opening set with Potapova driving through her shots and going for the lines. Again Serena comes out on top in a longish exchange to engineer a break point, which he takes when Potapova goes long mid-rally.
The immediate break back, the hallmark of a champion.