Serena Williams has advanced to the third round of the 2014 WTA Madrid Open after surging past Peng Shuai 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday.
TennisTV commented on Serena’s form immediately following her dominant straight-set performance:
Live Tennis noted that it wasn’t Williams’ most technically sound showing, but she did more than enough to get the job done in the second round:
Not a fantastic match from Serena but she gets it done easily, 6-2, 6-3 v Peng Shuai. Riske or Suarez Navarro next. pic.twitter.com/kQV2L9XecD— Live Tennis (@livetennis) May 7, 2014
Williams, the world No. 1 and defending champion in this event, had little trouble with her opponent during the match. Live Tennis pointed out that the superstar wasn’t particularly happy during the match but had no issues booking a ticket into the third round:
Serena Williams doesn't look entirely happy with her game today but she's dominating, 6-2 over Peng Shuai. pic.twitter.com/U8kr2HB2Bn— Live Tennis (@livetennis) May 7, 2014
Despite taking an extended break after an uncharacteristic defeat in Charleston at the beginning of April, Serena had no issues with rust and continued her run back to the finals of this tourney.
It was the third meeting between these two competitors, but the first since 2009. Williams extended her unblemished record against the Chinese challenger and remains in the running for a record third women’s title at the Caja Magica.
It was an extremely sound win for Williams, who fired 11 aces compared to Peng’s one. Serena also hit 28 winners to Peng’s four and dominated in terms of break points.
TennisTV tweeted out the rest of the match statistics:
The 32-year-old’s convincing victory over world No. 42 Peng comes on the heels of a dominant opening-round performance against Belinda Bencic. Serena cruised past Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-1 to start her title defense, and it appears that performance was no fluke.
It’s refreshing to see Williams back in dominant form, especially after watching her struggle against Jana Cepelova of Slovakia in the Family Circle Cup. Cepelova, ranked 78th at the time, pulled off a miraculous second-round upset over the 17-time Grand Slam winner, forcing Williams to step away from the game for more than a month.
At the time, Williams had this to say about her performance, according to Douglas Robson of USA Today Sports: "I'm really just dead. I need some weeks off where I don't think about tennis and kind of regroup. I've had a long couple of years, and I'm really a little fatigued."
That time off has definitely done Williams some good. She appears to be well on her way to claiming a 60th career title and is performing well on clay just in time for Roland Garros.
While another French Open title has to be on the mind of Serena, the lone two-time champion at Madrid was just happy to finally win on the surface in 2014, as per the staff of SkySports.com: "It feels good to get a win under my belt on clay. I think I played well, I went for a lot of winners and they actually went in so I was like wow."
Will Williams win another title at Madrid?
Williams will clash with either No. 14-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain or fellow American Alison Riske in the next round. Serena has beaten Suarez Navarro in all three of their prior matches, while she has yet to face the 23-year-old Riske.
Neither poses a significant challenge to Williams, especially now that she seems to be back in a rhythm and refreshed after her sabbatical. Expect the superstar to run away with the third-round match and march her way into the fourth round without much trouble.