Rising Argentine star Nadia Podoroska added another name to a growing list of big career wins when she defeated American star Serena Williams 7-6(6), 7-5 in the second round of the Italian Open on Wednesday. It was the 1,000th Tour match of Serena.
Using the entire clay-court repertoire -- from heavy topspin forehands to sliding defence -- that brought her to the French Open semi-finals last October, the world No. 44 took one hour and 58 minutes to get past 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena.
“It’s tough to have a first match on clay. It was definitely kind of good to go the distance and to try to be out there, but clearly I can do legions better,” said Williams, who has won the Italian Open four times.
“Maybe I do need a few more matches, so I’m going to try to figure that out with my coach and my team and see what we would like to do. I have been training for months, but it feels definitely different on clay to make that last adjustment.”
The victory over world No.8 Serena was Nadia's third career win over a top-10 player, all in the last eight months.
“It’s special win. She’s a great athlete. She did too many things for our sport. It’s history,” Podoroska said.
“So for me it’s very special. But most of all, I’m happy the way I played. I felt again comfortable on clay, on my game, and that’s most important for me.”
World No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine survived a barrage of power to turn around her match with Amanda Anisimova 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 while American Coco Gauff held off a fight-back from No.17 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece to win 6-1, 1-6, 6-1.
Elina will next face world No. 12 Garbine Muguruza of Spain, who overcame nine double faults and came from a double break down in the third set to quell qualifier Bernarda Pera 2-6, 6-0, 7-5 on Tuesday.
Coco will take on No. 5 seed from Belarus Aryna Sabalenka after the Madrid Open champion triumphed over Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain 7-5, 6-1.
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