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Rediff.com  » Sports » Miami Open PHOTOS: Serena, Wawrinka register labourous win

Miami Open PHOTOS: Serena, Wawrinka register labourous win

March 23, 2014 12:14 IST

Miami Open PHOTOS: Serena, Wawrinka register labourous win

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World number one Serena Williams battled her way into the fourth round of the Sony Open with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia on Saturday but the six-time champion hardly looked at home on the Miami hardcourts calling her effort unprofessional.

The game's dominant player, Williams, who lives an hour drive away from the Crandon Park complex, has yet to put her stamp on her home tournament, advancing with a pair of laboured wins over Yaroslava Shvedova and Garcia.

The hard-hitting Frenchwoman showed no fear, slugging it out with the 17-time grand slam winner for more than two and a half hours before Williams ended the fight with a blistering forehand winner.

"I really gave myself a tremendous amount of trouble out there," Williams told reporters.

"Granted she played great but I made so many errors. I hit so short.

"I just have to do better."


Image: Serena Williams reacts during her match against Caroline Garcia on Saturday
Photographs: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

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'It's not the way to play professional tennis'

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A more unsettling sight for tournament officials has been the large swaths of empty green seats, the hometown girl and the biggest draw in women's tennis unable to attract a full house to either of Williams' centre court matches.

Meanwhile, Williams' serve seems to have deserted her, the muscular American unable to find her mark against Garcia while firing seven double faults.

A minority owner in the National Football League Miami Dolphins, a smiling Williams stepped out onto centre court dressed in the orange and turquoise colours of her team earning the approval of the half empty stadium.

But the smiles did not last long, a misfiring Williams spending most of the match gesturing, scowling and shouting at herself for a string of miscues.

"It's important to stay positive," said Williams.

"Obviously I wasn't at my best. I had 40 something errors. It's not the way to play professional tennis. Maybe amateur.


Image: Serena Williams hits a forehand against Caroline Garcia
Photographs: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

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'I need to be focused to beat players like Serena'

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"On the professional tour you have to do a little better than that, so hopefully I can, in the next few matches, to do better."

The contest got off to an uneven start, Williams breaking Garcia three times with the Frenchwoman countering with two breaks of her own.

In contrast, the rest of the match would produce just two breaks, Garcia breaking Williams to take the second set and the defending champion breaking the Frenchwoman to open the third.

"I just try to forget it's Serena Williams, to forget that she won how many Grand Slams and just be me and just play," said Garcia, now 0-3 against Williams.

"If I want to win a match like this, I have to play and don't think of my opponent, what she is doing in the past but just be focused on what she's doing now and how I play now."


Image: Caroline Garcia hits a backhand against Serena Williams
Photographs: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

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Ivanovic eases past Pennetta

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In other action, fifth seeded German Angelique Kerber raced into the fourth round with a 6-0, 6-2 demolition of Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova while ninth seed Sara Errani of Italy was stopped 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 by 23rd seeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

The morning session featured an intriguing clash between 12th seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic and Italian Flavia Pennetta, who arrived in Miami riding the momentum from a victory at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

Ivanovic, a former French Open champion, ended Pennetta's run with 6-4, 6-3 victory setting up a fourth round meeting with 2011 Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, the eighth seed advancing with a no-nonsense 6-3, 6-4 win over Croatian Donna Vekic.

Belgian Kirsten Flipkens moved onto to the fourth round in a walkover when 14th seed Sabine Lisicki withdrew due to the flu.


Image: Ana Ivanovic of Serbia celebrates her win over Flavia Pennetta of Italy on Saturday
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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Wawrinka survives bumpy start

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Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka survived a rollercoaster start to his Sony Open campaign on Saturday, advancing to the third round with a bumpy 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 win over Spain's Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

The third seeded Swiss, playing just his second event since his milestone win in Melbourne, came out guns blazing blasting through the opening set in just 18 minutes but then made tough work of the remainder of his centre court clash, needing nearly an hour and a half to finally tame the Spaniard.

"I started well first set," said Wawrinka, now the number one Swiss ahead of Roger Federer. "It wasn't going that well but I was positive, ready.

"Problem is I still have some up and down mentally.

"I was negative in the second set, a little bit stupid, but then I'm really happy the way I started the third set."

Wawrinka said, "It was important to come back strong, to move well again, to play aggressive, to push him, and was important to get the break early."


Image: Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland returns a shot to Daniel Gimeno Traver of Spain on Saturday
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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Berdych joined Wawrinka in the third round

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After Wawrinka stormed through the first set and held serve to open the second, the momentum suddenly swung the Spaniard's way, Gimeno-Traver claimed the early break on a misfiring Wawrinka to go up 3-2 and then broke the Swiss again to level the match.

Wawrinka, however, steadied himself with a break to open third and again to close out the contest to end an up-and-down performance.

With the victory Wawrinka pushed his season record to a near perfect 14-1, a run that includes a pair of titles.

"I know that if I play my best tennis I can be a favourite of the tournament," summed up Wawrinka.

"I know how well I can play.

"But I'm focusing on matches and I don't really care what other things or what others want to do.

"I know that every match are difficult and you need to be focused on what you're doing."

Seventh seeded Czech Tomas Berdych joined Wawrinka in the third round dispatching Frenchman Stephane Robert 7-6(5) 6-1 while big-hitting Croatian Marin Cilic, the 25th seed, was shown the exit by Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2 7-6(5).


Image: Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic plays a backhand against Stephane Robert of France
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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