Queen of tennis still has tricks up her sleeve
The queen of tennis still has some tricks up her sleeve as Serena Williams dug deep to outgun Naomi Osaka in Adelaide.
While both were still rusty at times, the match-up between the 23-time grand slam winner and the new star of the sport turned into a slug-fest and went all the way to a 10-point third-set tie-breaker.
After some wayward serving cost her the first set 2-6, Osaka came out firing in the second to claim it 6-2 herself and looked to have all the momentum going into the tie-breaker.
But Williams' experience and brute force came to the fore, as she seized momentum of the breaker midway through it and while Osaka saved three match points the American emerged victorious 6-2, 2-6, 10-7.
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Williams spoke of how crucial getting a match in the first day out of 14-days in quarantine would be in her bid to equal Margaret Court's 24 grand slam titles in Melbourne next month and she would have been pleased with her first hitout of 2021.
Especially how she responded to Osaka's dominant second set to bounce back in the tie-break.
The 23-year-old spoke earlier in the week about how Williams was still her idol and how she was still "intimidated" by her.
But Osaka had Williams on the ropes in the second, not only superbly returning her powerful shots - drawing applause from the American herself - but creating clear cut winners of her own.
The mistakes Williams was making, misjudging the flight of the ball or just shanking a simple winner, had her looking shocked at times.
But there's a reason why she has won 23 grand slam titles, and Williams showed that in the cutthroat final set as she kept her cool under pressure and used her power to get a second win in a row over Osaka and even up their head-to-head record.
Originally published as Queen of tennis still has tricks up her sleeve