Serena Williams fought off a slew of break points in the second set to prevail over an upset-minded Nuria Parrizas Diaz 6-3, 6-4 in the first round at the Canadian Open Masters in Toronto.
In the first match of the day on Stadium, the 40-year-old Serena raced out to a quick opening set win, but things got tight thereafter.
The 31-year-old lucky loser from Spain dug in, getting balls back and putting Serena on the move. But game after game after game, Parrizas Diaz came empty on break chances. In all, Serena saved all six break points she faced in the second set en route to her very first win since the French Open last year.
“I guess there’s just a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said after finally winning a match. “I don’t know, I’m getting closer to the light, so …. Lately that’s been it for me. I can’t wait to get to that light.
“I love playing though, so it’s like amazing. But, you know, I can’t do this forever. So it’s just like sometimes you just want to try your best to enjoy the moments and do the best that you can.”
Serena will get a day off before facing the Belinda Bencic/Tereza Martincova winner on Wednesday.
While Serena began the day with a win, her 42-year-old sister Venus ended with a loss to Jil Tiechmann 6-2, 6-3.
2021 finalist Karolina Pliskova overcame countrywoman Barbora Krejcikova. Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina won in three over qualifier Marie Bouzkova and former champion Petra Kvitova fell to Alison Riske.
In a wild 3-hour, rain-impacted affair on Centre, Sloane Stephens edged her compatriot Sofia Kenin 6-2, 6-7(3), 7-5. Stephens was cruising with match points up 6-2, 5-1 when Kenin mounted a furious comeback to force a third.
In the decider, after two rain delays Stephens built a 5-2 lead only to see it slip away again. But she was able to hold from 15-30 down and then break to win it on her sixth match point.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been in a match where I’ve had multiple match points over the course of the match and didn’t lose my mind, so I’m just very proud,” said Stephens.
Also, 2-time champion Simona Halep raced through her opening match with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Donna Vekic.
Canadian No. 1 Leylah Fernandez won a nervy battle with Storm Sanders in three sets while Madison Keys fell to Asia Muhammed.
With rain in both Toronto and in Montreal, where only four matches were complete, it’s a huge tennis day in Canada.
Toronto will see Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff, Emma Raducanu and Bianca Andreescu.
In Montreal, Andy Murray will hope to play Taylor Fritz after getting washed out. Nick Kyrgios, Matteo Berrettini and Gael Monfils are in action.
TUESDAY MONTREAL SCHEDULE
Court Central Starts At 11:00 Am
R64 (WC) Vasek Pospisil vs Tommy Paul
R64 (WC) Alexis Galarneau vs 15 Grigor Dimitrov
Followed By / TBF 5/7 6/6 Denis Shapovalov vs Alex de Minaur
Sebastian Baez vs Nick Kyrgios
Not Before 6:30 Pm
(WC) Andy Murray vs 10 Taylor Fritz
R32 Emil Ruusuvuori vs 8 Hubert Hurkacz
Court Rogers Starts At 11:00 Am
Pablo Carreno Busta vs 11 Matteo Berrettini
17 Gael Monfils (Alt) vs Pedro Martinez
Followed By / TBF 6/7(5) 1/2 (Q) Marcos Giron -14 vs Roberto Bautista Agut
9 Cameron Norrie vs Brandon Nakashima
Not Before 6:30 Pm
12 Diego Schwartzman vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
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