Last years finalist at the Sony Open both got back to their winning ways in Miami; defending champion Serena Williams began her campaign for a record 7th Sony Open title with a tricky straight sets win over Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6 6-2 and Maria Sharapova, who lost to Serena in last years final, also won in straight sets 6-3 6-4. Neither woman looked particularly great or confident, but you can understand why these are two of the greats on tour currently, Serena being one of the greatest ever.
Williams took the court as the overwhelming favorite being that she's the world #1 and she's the defending champion, but she didn't play like it; this was Williams first time on court since losing in the semis of Dubai and you could definitely see the rust. One thing she doesn't have rust on is her serve; her serve has been her bread and butter her entire career and you saw evidence of that in her opening match. In the first set, Shvedova came out firing and took it to the defending champion, mounting a lead to which she found herself serving for the first set at 5-4. Being the champion she is, Williams dug deep and broke to stay in the set and then fired down a couple of aces to go up 6-5. Shvedova would hold and build another lead in the tiebreak, she had 2 set points, but Williams again fought back and eventually claimed the set deep in the tiebreak. With the minor blip early in the second set when Williams got broken, it was a routine finish to what started off extremely rocky.
Sharapova had an equally difficult opening match and being that her confidence couldn't be that high after a shocking early round exit last week in Indian Wells, she needed a clean win. As usual, Sharapova came out firing with a barrage of intense groundstrokes and grunts, typical Sharapova. Even though Sharapova won in straight sets, she too struggled and it was very apparant; she missed serves badly and had a host of unforced errors. If she's looking to finally come good at the tournament shes been a finalist at on five separate occasions, she's going to need to clean her game up dramatically.
Sadly, last years thrilling final between the tours two leading glamour girls can only repeat as a semifinal, but both need to step it up if they plan on having that blockbuster showdown everyone expects and wants to see; it would be Sony Open Tennis at it's finest!