Cincinnati R3: (1) Serena Williams vs Karin Knapp
Serena Williams made a solid start to her title defence at the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday, defeating Tsvetana Pironkova 7-5 6-3 to advance to the second round. The world number 1 will face a resurgent Karin Knapp in the second round.
After a shock semi-final loss to Belinda Bencic in Toronto last week, a fired up Serena Williams made a positive start in Cincinnati. Serena’s serve was a big problem in her loss to Bencic last week, the American’s serve was much more effective in her victory over Pironkova, firing down 15 aces and saving all three break points she faced. This is Serena’s last tournament before the U.S Open, she seems extremely focused and eager to head into New York with winning form.
Karin Knapp has had some solid results in the last couple of weeks, reaching the final at Bad Gastein (on clay) and the semi-finals at Baku. However the Italian made a disastrous start to her U.S Open series campaign last week, suffering an embarrassing 0-6 0-6 loss to Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Rogers Cup. Knapp seems to be in a better space this week, picking up straight set victories over Konjuh and Gavrilova to set up her first career meeting with Serena Williams. This is obviously a massive challenge for Knapp, a good test to see where her game is really at.
Knapp has shown that she can be very competitive with the best in the world, most notably her epic match against Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open last year which ended 8-10 in the third set. However it’s hard to see Knapp causing a fired up Serena Williams any problems in this match, this should be a routine victory for the world number 1.