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Rediff.com  » Sports » Miami Masters PHOTOS: Serena scrapes through; Tomic beaten in record time

Miami Masters PHOTOS: Serena scrapes through; Tomic beaten in record time

Last updated on: March 21, 2014 10:12 IST

Miami Masters PHOTOS: Williams shrugs off slow start

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World No 1 Serena Williams overcame a wobbly start to open the defence of her Sony Open crown with a spirited 7-6(9-7), 6-2 win over Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova on Thursday.

A six-time winner on the Miami hardcourts, Williams' second round meeting with the 59th-ranked Shvedova was expected to be little more than a tuneup for the 17-time grand slam winner but for a brief moment the match delivered some unexpected suspense.

"She was doing a little bit of everything," Williams told reporters. "She was hitting hard; she was hitting soft; she was doing a little bit of everything.

"I was making a little more errors than what I should have been making, what I should've made, and that kind of threw me for a loop, as well.

"She was up a break (in the first set) and I started just really trying to fight to make the shots.

"And then when she was serving for the first set I really just tried to be more Serena like."


Image: Serena Williams of the USA celebrates winning against Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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Miami Masters PHOTOS: Williams shrugs off slow start

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The contest began with Williams seizing control 3-1 but Shvedova had a sparse centre court crowd buzzing after breaking the American twice on the way to a 5-3 lead.

But with Shvedova serving for the match, Williams showed why she is the sport's dominant player breaking her opponent and forcing the opening set to a tiebreak.

In the tiebreak, Shvedova, who had never taken a set off Williams in three previous meetings, surged ahead 6-3 but then crumbled under the mounting pressure, double-faulting before the defending champion blasted a pair of aces past her.

Williams then clinched the set in emphatic fashion, a crushing forehand followed by an equally forceful fist-pump.


Image: Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan returns the ball against Serena Williams
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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Miami Masters PHOTOS: Williams shrugs off slow start

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"It felt really good, relieved is a good word," said Williams about pulling out the first set win. "I felt really relieved to finish it and to get on with the second set.

"It was a little over an hour, and I was ready to move on. I was kind of over it.

"I was like, win, lose or draw, let's start the next set."

After trading breaks to open the second set, Shvedova would hold serve before a focused Williams moved in for the kill, sweeping the next five games to secure passage to the next round.

"It's definitely going to help, knowing that I was able to pull that through after being down pretty drastically," said Williams.

Williams will now face Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia who advanced to the third round with a 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3) upset of 27th seed Klara Zakopalova of the CzechRepublic.


Image: Serena Williams vollies against Yaroslava Shvedova
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Nieminen beats Tomic in record 28 minutes

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Finland's Jarkko Nieminen claimed the fastest ATP Tour win on Thursday by crushing Australian Bernard Tomic in 28 minutes and 20 seconds to advance to the second round.

Tomic, the World No 74 had not played since retiring injured in the opening round of the Australian Open in January and won just 13 points in the shortest match since the Tour began keeping official records in 1991.

Nieminen's win eclipsed the 1996 record set by Briton Greg Rusedski who defeated Carsten Arriens 6-0, 6-0 at the Sydney International in 29 minutes.


Image: Jarkko Nieminen of Finland returns a shot
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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Hewitt reach milestone 600th career Win

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Lleyton Hewitt's 600th win looked very much like every other of his ATP Tour career as the Australian battler scraped his way past Robin Haase 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the first round.

In a testament to his tenacity, Hewitt became just the third active player to achieve the milestone, joining an elite group that includes two of the all-time greats, Roger Federer (937) and Rafael Nadal (674).

"Today was just like another match and an opportunity to go out there and play well," Hewitt told reporters. "Obviously afterwards, you know, a great milestone.

"Not many people get to achieve that. Not many people get the opportunity to get close to that, so it means I have been around for an awfully long time, as well.

"I'm getting old."

While Hewitt may have lost a step and his groundstrokes are not quite as ferocious, the 33-year-old has lost none of his combativeness, and it was on full display for a sun-kissed centre court.

An Australian Rules player growing up before focusing on tennis, Hewitt has brought the same rugged, take-no-prisoners approach of his nation's indigenous football game to the court for 16 years.

While Federer's style is often described as elegant and Nadal plays with controlled fury, Hewitt is a pure blue-collar brawler.

The fighting spirit and raw aggression has carried him to the top of the world rankings, 29 career titles, including Wimbledon and US Open crowns.


Image: Lleyton Hewitt of Australia celebrates
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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