Serena Williams recently revealed that there were chances of her skipping the Australian Open this year had it happened according to the usual schedule like every year. The season got delayed this year due to coronavirus pandemic and subsequently, the Australian Open is also starting later than expected. That delay has helped Serena recover from her injury and also take part in the big event Down Under.
Currently, Williams is preparing for next week’s Australian Open and therefore she is plying her trade in the Yarra Valley Classic which is held in Melbourne. The 39-year-old tennis star has already won her opening game against Daria Gavrilova.
Williams is making a comeback after she dealt with an injury in the French Open last summer which ended her campaign last season. Currently, at 23 Grand Slams, Williams will put forward her latest claim to equal it with Margaret Court (24 titles) by winning the Australian Open. However, the fact that she is up and running to perform in the event would not have happened if the Open was not postponed. The extra delay of three weeks allowed Williams to get back from injury.
“I couldn’t practice because of my Achilles,” she told reporters. “I needed time. I don’t think I would have been here if it was during the regular season. “(The delay) was an unwanted blessing. “I definitely was pushing the limits, but I’m here.”
Williams looked in complete control in her win over local favourite Gavrilova. She defeated her in 6-1, 6-4 in the build-up tournament on Monday. The Seven-time Australian Open winner was slow to get off the blocks as she lost her first three points on serve. But she was quick to rectify her mistakes and had a comfortable outing against the Australian.
Gavrilova gave a better account of herself in the second set which was far more competitive and forced Williams to work harder for the points. However she had the answers as she picked up the intensity and finished the game with ease. The American is looking in red hot form as she also defeated World Number 3 Naomi Osaka in an exhibition game in Adelaide on Friday.
She is desperate to get match practice ahead of the big event and will now play Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria in the round of 16.
Earlier in the proceedings another America Coco Gauff had to work her socks off to progress to the next round. Gauff won an exciting duel against Jil Teichmann at the Gippsland Trophy.
The youngster showed immense character to brave a poor patch in the game to come out winning 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/5) in two hours and 45 minutes.
“All the training I did in the off-season meant I was able to go through three tough sets and not get tired,” she said.