Thursday, 02 April, 2020


Auckland: Serena Williams fends off McHale challenge to book QF spot

Auckland Serena Williams fends off Mc Hale challenge to book QF spot Auckland: Serena Williams fends off McHale challenge to book QF spot
Noah Ferguson | 09 January, 2020, 14:12

When Williams plays doubles, invariably she is in it to win it.

She incurred a time violation at set point in the first set but held serve, then closed out the match at her first opportunity.

But the 15-year-old suffered disappointment in Auckland, with Germany's Laura Siegemund earning a surprise 5-7 6-2 6-3 victory in a contest lasting two hours and 14 minutes.

Williams has faced McHale three times in her career with a 3-0 winning record.

Williams has also made it to the doubles semifinals with partner Caroline Wozniacki.

But their first one-on-one duel will have to wait, with Gauff frustrated she could not follow up a smooth performance in the first round against Viktoria Kuzmova.

Neither player was able to take control of the match early on; the first set contained 48 unforced errors and Gauff achieved the only service break in the 12th game.

Gauff told reporters that she felt she still had a lot to learn from playing at the top level, but that her basic game was there to build on.

"Honestly, I said I wanted to win more than one match here in New Zealand, so I could do this".

"Wanting to perform my best in front of New Zealand, make them proud but also playing a great player as well". "I'm going out there with nothing to lose".

"I think I tried to overplay where I should have gone for bigger targets, instead of going for lines".

"I really need to play matches like that to get to my goals", said the 23-times Grand Slam victor, who is determined to equal the record of 24 held by Australian great Margaret Court.

While Williams is the undisputed face of American tennis, she has been joined in Auckland by the new wave of U.S. tennis stars, headed by the tournament third seed Amanda Anisimova who did not disappoint. I just told my dad that I didn't feel like I was hitting my shots like I normally do.

"We'll just go every game there, just play, have fun and see what happens, and the good thing about the doubles is that we had two games and we're in the semi-finals".

After her doubles commitments at the ASB Classic, Gauff will prepare for the Australian Open, where she will hope to at least perform similarly to her fourth-round and third-round appearances at Wimbledon and the US Open in the second half of past year.

The 31-year-old will look to use her crafty all court game to challenge Gauff for a spot in the quarterfinals where Williams or McHale will await the victor.

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