Unseeded Serena Out-Muscles Willowy Myskina in Cincy Comeback

Posted on July 19, 2006

A relaxed, slimmed-down Serena Williams, playing her first event since the Australian Open in January, brutalized stick-figure No. 2 seed Anastasia Myskina 6-2, 6-2 to move into the second round at the WTA stop in Cincinnati.

"I felt really relaxed. I haven't felt this way in a long time," said Serena, who has been out with a chronic knee injury, beating the Russian in under an hour. "I almost could have played Wimbledon. I was about 60 or 70 percent then. But I probably would have had an embarrassing loss."

Williams out-muscled the willowy Myskina from the baseline, making the No. 11-ranked Russian look powerless after she entered the match with wins in 14 of her last 18 matches.

"She hadn't played in six months, so I didn't know what to expect," Myskina said. "Her serve was pretty good. I knew I was going to have to keep winning my serve if I was going to stay in the game."

All the other seeded players in action advanced safely Tuesday in (4) Katarina Srebotnik (d. (Q) De Los Rios), (5) Jelena Jankovic (d. Savchuk), (6) Marion Bartoli (d. (Q) Chin-Wei), (8) Gisela Dulko (d. Domachowska), and (9) Sania Mirza (d. (LL) Stevenson who retired in the second set with a right shoulder strain), all winning in straight sets.

Jankovic, back in winning form with a victory over Venus Williams at Wimbledon, said a 10-match losing streak earlier in the year left her unhappy with tennis.

"I was in bad form," Jankovic said. "That was one of the worst periods of my life. I didn't enjoy tennis much, like I used to, but I like it now."

Unseeded players into the second round were Italian Maria Elena Camerin (d. chunky (LL) Gullickson 1-and-1), Americans Bethanie Mattek (d. countrywoman Perry from a set down) and qualifier Abigail Spears (d. countrywoman (WC) Glatch in three), China's Yuan Meng (d. Diaz-Oliva), Uzbek Varvara Lepchenko (d. (LL) Grandin from a set down), and Russian qualifier Vasilisa Bardina (d. Sromova from a set down).

On court Wednesday in Cincy are Dulko vs. Frazier, Golovin vs. Zvonareva, Laine vs. Mirza, Schnyder vs. Spears, and Srebotnik vs. Yuan.