Serena Williams looks all set to defend her Miami Open title after a win over Yaroslava Shvedova, 7-6 (7), 6-2 in the second round. The five-time Miami Open finalist, Maria Sharapova too managed a victory over Japan's Kurumi Nara beating her 6-3, 6-4.
Donning a turquoise and orange outfit to showcase her loyalty for NFL team -- the Miami Dolphins -- which she co-owns, Williams started off on the back foot being 3-5 down in the opening set. She went ahead winning three straight games with the first set ending up in a tie break, where she found herself behind 3-6. The American got across a couple of aces and clawed her way back to win the tie break 9-7. The second set was all too easy with Shvedova giving it away, not managing to get her serves across.
But the tough first set warmed up Williams for the rest of the tournament to hopefully pick up her seventh Miami Open title. "It's definitely going to help, knowing that I was able to pull that through after being down, you know, pretty drastically," Williams said. Her next opponent is Caroline Garcia of France who defeated Klara Zakopalova 7-6 (3), 7-6 (3).
Russia's Sharapova had a tough day at the court facing a challenge posed by the Rio Open 2014 champion Kurumi Nara, with the match turning out to be a lot difficult than the 6-3, 6-4 scoreline suggests. The four-time grand slam champion was seen at 3 all in the first set and 1-3 down in the second set rallying towards an eventual win.
"She made me work extremely hard," Sharapova said. "She's a really quick opponent, got a lot of balls back, and she made me hit a lot. She made me try to do too much in certain situations.
"Sometimes I felt like I was doing the right mistakes and sometimes I felt like I should have been more patient, but I guess those are the situations you want to build that match confidence again."
The 26 year old will face Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova in round three. Safarova defeated American Vania King 6-3, 7-6 (2) in the second round.
"I still feel like a work in progress," Sharapova said coming from a third-round defeat at Indian Wells. "That match strength, when you're deep into the match and just in the later stages of matches, I think that's the thing that's hurt me in these last couple of months.
"But I've got to work through that. Nothing's just going to come to me. It's a challenge I have ahead of me, and I have to face it."