Serena Williams was back to her winning ways on Toronto’s Centre Court.
Playing in Canada’s most populated city for the first time in four years, the 23-time Grand Slam champion bested Belgium’s Elise Mertens in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. This latest victory improves Williams’ record at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank to 31-4. The 23-time Grand Slam champion was also playing her first match since losing in the Wimbledon final to Simona Halep.
Early on the three-time Rogers Cup champion found herself down a break, but it didn’t take her long to respond. Trailing 3-2, holding double break point, Williams forced Mertens to send a forehand long to level the set. In the very next game, she tallied one of the point of the match with an incredible winner while sliding. Serena score one more break point before holding serve to close out the first set.
In the second set, Serena found herself in a little bit of trouble. But just like in the beginning of the match, the 37 year old came charging back. Trailing 2-0, she converted on her second break point on a powerful two-handed backhand winner. She then consolidated the break with a forehand winner to knot the set at 2-2. It was part of a stretch that saw Williams win four games in a row – which was capped off by this beautiful forehand.
After holding serve to grab a 5-3 lead, Serena converted her fifth break point of the match on another Mertens unforced error. It’s also only the third time in 2019 that Serena has been able to defeat a Top 20 player. The American now has 31 career Rogers Cup victories to her name – putting her only one shy of Spain’s Aranxta Sanchez Vacario for the Open Era record of 32 at this Canadian event.
She’ll be vying to match that mark on Thursday night at Aviva Centre, when she’ll face Russian qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova for the first time in her career in the next round.
SWIATEK COMES FROM BEHIND TO COMPLETE WOZNIACKI UPSET
Poland’s Iga Swiatek earned arguably the biggest victory of her career.
Forced to rally from behind, the 18 year old from Poland earned her second career Top 20 win by defeating Caroline Wozniacki in three sets 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. The World No. 18 Wozniacki was one of five former Rogers Cup champions who were in the field this week.
Over the weekend, Swiatek managed to qualify for the main draw in her first-ever appearance at a Rogers Cup. She did so by downing Shelby Rogers and Heather Watson in straight sets. Along with Andreescu and Dayana Yastremska, she is one of three teenagers left in the main draw in Toronto. Prior to her victory over Wozniacki on Wednesday night, she had only one Top 20 win to her name. It came at this year’s French Open when she edged Qiang Wang in the third round.
Her next match won’t get any easier. Swiatek will next see World No. 2 Naomi Osaka on Centre Court in one of the two third-round matches scheduled for Thursday night.