After pulling off an Allen Iverson – publicly downplaying the importance of “practice” – Serena Williams came into this year’s 2014 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship as a wildcard, and got a bit of a scare in her first (live stream) match of the tournament.
According to a Feb. 18 ESPN report, Williams’ victory proved to be more adventurous than expected, as Russian Ekaterina Makarova made things very interesting for the world No. 1 in her opening 2014 Dubai Tennis Championships match.
Things got off to a shaky start in her first taste of competition since being stunned in the fourth round of the Australian Open. The 17-time Grand Slam champ looked rusty and was exposed by her 25-year-old opponent, who jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening set.
However, Makarova failed to capitalize on her opportunities as the match wore on, giving Williams enough time to pick up the intensity and force a tiebreak. The American would go on to win in straight sets, 7-6(8) 6-0, but was forced to dig deep in order to avoid what would have been a humiliating upset.
“It was really exciting. That first set was so tough. It was definitely a good match,” Williams said on court. “I don't know what the difference was [in the tiebreak]. I just kept fighting and did the best I could.”
After the early scare, Serena Williams moves on to the quarterfinal round of the 2014 Dubai Tennis Championships, where she’ll face former world No.1, Jelena Jankovic. This women’s singles (live stream) match scheduled for Thursday morning at 10 a.m. EST (9 a.m. CST/8 a.m. MST/7 a.m. PST).
Courtesy of Watch-ESPN and ESPN3, tennis fans around the world can watch Williams and Jankovic’s 13th head-to-head meeting on a desktop or (Internet) mobile devices. ESPN3’s live stream gets underway at 5 a.m. EST with Venus Williams taking on Flavia Pennetta.
Serena Williams comes in with an 8-4 lead over Jelena Jankovic in their overall series, including a 4-match win streak. The last time these ladies met dates back to last year’s WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. Although Williams prevailed, Jankovic forced her to go the distance (6-4, 2-6, 6-4).