World No. 1 Serena Williams overcame another tough challenge in her difficult draw at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Monday, in the second round defeating French upset-maker Alize Cornet 7-6(5), 6-2.
“It was really big for me just to win that first set,” said Serena after saving two set points. “We’ve had so many tough matches in the past, so I couldn’t let the elements get into my head. I hadn’t played great against Alize in the past…so I thought how I at least wanted to get a win.”
Serena in the third round will face No. 15 seed Elina Svitolina, who outlasted Britain’s Heather Watson 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
Other Top 10 winners into the third round were No. 2 Angelique Kerber beating Canuck Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 6-2; No. 3 Garbine Muguruza rolling Japan’s Nao Hibino 6-1, 6-1; No. 7 Madison Keys edging France’s Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 6-7(4), 7-6(5); No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova receiving a walkover from Monica Niculescu; No. 9 Carla Suarez Navarro topping Croatian Ana Konjuh 7-6(5), 6-3; and No. 10 Johanna Konta easing past Caroline Garcia 6-2, 6-3.
“I’m obviously really happy with how I was able to compete today,” said Keys, who called a medial timeout in the third set. “I felt like one of my ribs maybe moved, which wasn’t very comfortable but I’m feeling a little bit better now, I’m going to go see the trainers after.”
No. 11 seed Petra Kvitova beat Denmark’s flag bearer and former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-4.
“It was a tough draw for me,” Woz said of the poorly-attended match in Rio. “Petra played well today, really played aggressively and got me on my heels a little bit.”
Upsets on the day were Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig topping No. 14 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-2, and Sara Errani rolling past No. 16 Barbora Strycova 6-2, 6-2.
Tuesday’s schedule in Rio is (7) Keys vs. (9) Suarez Navarro, (1) Serena vs. (15) Svitlina, (8) Kuznetsova vs. (10) Konta, (2) Kerber vs. (13) Stosur, (11) Kvitova vs. Ekaterina Makarova, (3) Muguruza vs. Puig, Errani vs. Daria Kasatkina, and Laura Siegemund vs. Kirsten Flipkens.
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