Williams wins second set, 6-3!
Third set: *Pironkova 6-4, 3-6, 1-3 Williams
A dialed-in Williams breezes to a comfortable hold, capping it with a 120mph ace down the pipe. Another must-hold game coming up for Pironkova, who still trails by a break.
Third set: Pironkova 6-4, 3-6, 1-2 Williams*
After cruising on her serve early, Pironkiva has found herself fighting from behind in her last six service games. She is pushed to deuce from love-15 and 15-30 before escaping with the hold in another drawn-out marathon. She’s hit 21 winners against 22 unforced errors on the day (compared to 34 and 24 for Williams, respectively).
Third set: *Pironkova 6-4, 3-6, 0-2 Williams
Williams is pushed to deuce, but follows with a pair of unreturnable serves to close out the hold and back up the break. That’s five games on the trot for the American from 3-all in the second. A must-hold service game forthcoming for Pironkova.
Williams breaks in first game of third set!
Third set: Pironkova 6-4, 3-6, 0-1 Williams*
Pironkova almost immediately in deep waters after falling behind love-30 on her serve. She rallies with three quick points, but Williams responds with a backhand winner off the ground for deuce followed by a backhand return winner for break point. Pironkova erases it with the aid of the netcord, but faces another break point only moments later. Pironkova saves that one, too, when Williams overcooks a backhand return on a 73mph second serve. Williams hangs around long enough for a third break chance and this time she capitalizes, winning the 16-point marathon to nose ahead in the decider.
Second set: Pironkova 6-4, 3-6 Williams
Williams goes down love-15, then 15-30. But the American digs in, pounding her 14th, 15th and 16th aces to back up the break and close out the set in style. We’re headed to a decider.
Williams breaks in eighth game of second set!
Second set: Pironkova 6-4, 3-5 Williams*
Pironkova drops three quick points on her serve to give Williams three chances at a break point. She saves the first with a forehand volley winner. Then a gruelling 24-stroke baseline rally breaks out – the longest of the afternoon – ending when Pironkova mishits a drop shot. Williams gets the break and will serve to force a deciding set!
Second set: *Pironkova 6-4, 3-4 Williams
Williams goes down love-15 and 15-30, but serves her way out of trouble once more as Pironkova doesn’t get a ball back in play the rest of the way.
Second set: Pironkova 6-4, 3-3 Williams*
Pironkova badly needed a straightforward service game and that’s what she produced, rattling off four quick points after misfiring a forehand volley for love-15. They’re on serve in the second.
Second set: *Pironkova 6-4, 2-3 Williams
Williams breezes through her third service game of the set, closing out the love hold with a 99mph ace out wide and an 88mph second-serve service winner.
Second set: Pironkova 6-4, 2-2 Williams*
Pironkova feels the pressure on her serve for a second straight service game, getting pushed to deuce and saving a break point before escaping with the hold. Williams is getting neutral in the baseline rallies far more effectively than in the first set, when Pironkova won all five exchanges of nine or more shots.
Second set: *Pironkova 6-4, 1-2 Williams
Williams is forced to deuce and made to work for the hold over a 12-point game, but the American is helped out mightily once again by her serve: she’s just slotted her ninth, 10th and 11th aces of the day. She’s also starting to get the ball deeper into the court in the rallies, denying Pironkova the time and space that she enjoyed in the first set.
Williams breaks in second game of second set!
Second set: Pironkova 6-4, 1-1 Williams*
Pironkova blinks in her first service game of the second set, falling behind love-15, then 15-30, then 30-40 to give Williams her first look at a break point all day. And Williams converts it when Pironkova misfires on a forehand from the baseline, breaking right back.
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