Sluggish Serena Wins In 3, Stephens Crushed; Kerber Tries To Win A Set Friday In Miami

by Staff | March 24th, 2016, 11:54 pm

Serena Williams opened her bid for a ninth Miami title Thursday in South Florida, but just in the second round it was anything but easy. Against fellow American Christina Mchale, Serena was cruising by a set and a break but Mchale reeled off five straight games to force a third. Serena eventually won 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

“She just started playing better, the kind of tennis she’s never played before,” said Serena. “I made a few mistakes and then I had to pull myself back together.

“I feel like I was just playing, but it’s all right. I’m back now and I’m going.”

Having much easier days were fellow top seeds Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic and Simona Halep who had a 5-2 second set lead over Daria Kasatkina before holding on 6-3, 7-5.

“I think I complicated it a bit in the end of the match,” Halep admitted afterwards. “I did a few mistakes and I was rushing a little bit.

“I did everything – I win and lose the points. That was it.”

Not so fortunate was Sloane Stephens. The 20th-seeded Stephens was up 3-1 on Heather Watson but didn’t win another game as the Brit took 11 straight to win 6-3, 6-0.

“I thought I played very well today, actually,” Watson said. “I knew I was playing well. I started off the first few games a little bit shaky but once I started to feel comfortable I played great, which I needed to because Sloane’s such a great player.”

After a title in Acapulco last month, Stephens has now lost two straight.

On tap Friday are Venus Williams, Madison Keys, Garbine Muguruza, Indian Wells champion Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber who will try to win her very first tournament set since her Australian Open title. The German meets Barbora Strycova in the Stadium opener.

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14 Comments for Sluggish Serena Wins In 3, Stephens Crushed; Kerber Tries To Win A Set Friday In Miami

BBB Says:

Sloane Stephens is really puzzling. She wins tournaments, and it seems she’s broken through, and then she absolutely falls apart.

Tennisfan Says:


Yeah agreed. Its frustrating how inconsistent she is. I think she’s still not mentally strong enough to keep winning week-in-week-out.

Green Lady Says:

And ill say how pleased i am for Heather Watson, YAY YOU GO GIRL ;)) ….

BBB Says:

Stephens has something of the petulant teenager about her. I hope she grows out of it. Way too talented.

And yes, good stuff from Heather Watson.

J-Kath Says:

Yes, but sigh…Heather always shows promise but rarely lives up to it. For me it is Johanna.

RZ Says:

@J-Kath, I’m hoping Heather is finally past the mono/glandular fever that had her out for a while. I’m sure that delayed her comeback a bit. Now if only Laura can follow suit.

J-Kath Says:

RZ – You can imagine I’d like Heather to advance – but unhappily irrespective of her time out for various illnesses, she has never really achieved what one hopes for her. I doubt she ever will.

RZ Says:

@J-Kath – I’m hoping that Johanna’s ascent will motivate Heather and Laura to do better.

RZ Says:

Just checked scores to see that Vesnina bageled Venus in the first set. Vesnina is a good player, but how does that happen?

RZ Says:

Venus came back from a break down to take the 2nd set in a tiebreak, but is now back down a break in the 3rd.

Konta is up a break in the first set

J-Kath Says:


Unhappily seems Laura and Del Potro are on the same bench- the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak

RZ Says:

@J-Kath, I read an interview with Laura on her loss yesterday where she said that she played better but still goes back to default mode of just trying to hit as hard as she can without thought, but that doesn’t work as the opponents can figure out what she’s doing and read her shots.

But she said she has no pain so that’s a good sign.

J-Kath Says:

RZ- It’s great if she can.

As far as the UK goes, the main female player is currently Konta….I think we both thought that it would be great if Andy & Konta played mixed doubles in Rio? Andy & Laura won a medal (silver I think) last time – can Laura get back up there in time?

All 3 females Heather, Laura & Johanna do the UK proud. As for the men I have great hopes for Kyle – hope it is asap rather than down the road a wee bit.

RZ Says:

I doubt Laura will be in Rio based on her ranking, unless protected rankings work at the Olympics. Andy has played doubles with Heather in Hopman Cup, and Heather is probably a better doubles player than Johanna (hard to say for sure, as Johanna doesn’t have much doubles cred, but Heather has a couple of dubs titles), so I would guess Andy and Heather play mixed doubles together assuming Heather makes the Olympic cut. Konta is assured of making the cut as she has no points to defend between now and Rio. You are right that she is the main female player for the UK right now.

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