January 21, 2009

Serena fights to advance to the 3rd Round

Serena Williams is the best fighter on the tour. She defeated Gisela Dulko 6-3 7-5 in second round action at the Australian Open. Serena won the first set rather easily but she had to fight to snatch the second set. Dulko led 3-0 in the second before Serena got on the board. Gisela also led 5-2 but could not slam the door (for the set) on Serena. The second set lasted 79 minutes alone. Serena's fighting qualities were best displayed when Dulko was serving for the set in the marathon ninth game (5-3) which went to deuce 12 times. Dulko had five set-points, each of which Williams staved off. The ninth game alone was over 20 minutes. Dulko put up some resistance and played (strategically) behind Serena on (winning) a lot of points, holding her shot just long enough to do so.

The nine-times grand slam winner took some time to adjust a protective brace and strapping around her ankles in the changeover and then held serve to level at 5-5. Serena broke Dulko in another epic struggle in the next game (which went to deuce 6 times) and then went on (in the next game) to serve out for the match, which she sealed with an ace. Martina Navratilova said, "What great mental effort from Serena Williams to come back in the second set and win both long games. That's the sign of a champion. What a great effort from Serena while not playing her best tennis."

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