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Sports

Serena Lose 1000th Career Match

Oluwaseye Ogunsanya May 13, 2021 46


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Serena Williams crashed out of the Italian Open on Wednesday with a second round defeat to Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska.

The match was the 1000th of her WTA career and it dashed her bid to make history at Roland Garros.

Williams, 39, lost 7-6 (8/6), 7-5 on her return after nearly three months away to a player 15 years her junior who was a surprise semi-finalist at last year’s Roland Garros.

“You know, it’s tough to have a first match on clay,” said Williams, who has won 73 WTA titles over the past two decades.

“It was definitely kind of good to go the distance and to try to be out there, but clearly I can do legions better.

“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.”

Williams, a four-time Rome winner and 23-time Grand Slam champion, had not played since her semi-final defeat to Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open this year.

And the eighth seed found it tough going, losing in just under two hours to the 44th-ranked Argentine.

“Overall, it was good for me to play such a clay court player on clay today, but it’s a little frustrating,” she conceded.

“Yeah, just filling out the game, finding the rhythm. Even sliding and confidence with that, with movement, and just not wanting to break my ankle when I moved.

“That’s always like a little struggle in the first two matches, and then I’m raring to go.”

The early exit is a blow three weeks before the French Open in Paris on May 30 where the American continues her quest to equal Australia’s Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam trophies.

Despite a battling performance Williams could not wear down the 24-year-old who broke twice in the first set.

Podoroska forced a tie-break with an ace and squandered three set points before sealing the set.

In the second, Williams was trailing 5-2 but held and broke the Argentine to love while she served for the match to level at 5-5.

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