#IBI19 Rome R2 Preview
?? (10) Serena Williams vs. ?? (WC) Venus Williams
Serena Williams and Venus Williams will go head-to-head for the 31st time when they do battle at the second round stage of the Internazionali bnl d’Italia, Rome. Serena had dominated this match-up in recent times having won 9 of the last 11 meetings between the pair, however this will be their first meeting on clay in over 6 years and their first on red clay in over 14 years, so it will be interesting to see how the match pans out.
Serena Williams made her much anticipated return to action with a fairly comfortable straight set win over Rebecca Peterson in Rome. Williams had not played since a 3 set opening round win over Rebecca Peterson in Miami. The tennis gods drew the pair together again in Rome and this time Williams was far too strong, winning 6-4 6-2. Importantly, the Williams serve was strong, she served 10 aces and won 82% of her first service points.
Venus Williams was also in action for the first time since Miami on Monday in Rome. Venus was made to work extremely hard to claim a gruelling upset victory over Elise Mertens in over 3 hours of play. Williams squandered 8 match points and saw a 5-1 third set lead evaporate before finally clinching a 7-5 3-6 7-6 victory over the Belgian, one of the biggest wins for Venus in recent times.
Serena holds an 18-12 head-to-head record over Venus. Serena thrashed Venus 6-1 6-2 at the US Open last year in their most recent match. Interestingly their second round meeting in Rome will be their first match-up on red clay since Roland Garros in 2002, so this will be a rare sight in one of the tour’s most prominent match-ups.