[CR1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [CR42] Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL)
The drama surrounding Williams last match is still very much in the minds of everyone who watched her mentally struggle to get through the match after winning the first set. Bencic still had to win the match; however, what Williams was able to do in the third set showed that if she had gotten control of her mental state, she would have won the match. That match also showed just how deleterious the effects of pressure can be to a player’s game, even someone as awesome as Williams. Yet, we must put it in perspective, this is not just another season for Williams. Despite all that she has achieved, this one accomplishment will cement her story in the annals of tennis history; if she does indeed go on to win the US Open. Thus, the pressure that Williams is dealing with is beyond what even she has ever dealt with on the tennis circuit.
How would she respond after losing that match to Bencic? After publicly displaying that the pressure had eroded her confidence, Williams showed us today what she is made of. That loss had more of an impact on Williams’ game than if she had come back to win. As I mentioned in my blog on that match, that loss would be a powerful motivator for Williams because she does not like to lose. She took out all her frustration at losing that match on her hapless opponent today. Williams was focused, well aware that she was under the microscope. She did not disappoint, she did not get broken once and she won it in straight sets 7-5, 6-3. She answered the question definitively and by rebounding quite nicely today, there was no need for fireworks.