Serena advances to quarters in Bangalore Open

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Bangalore, March 6: Playing in her first match since the Australian Open, Serena Williams defeated Israel's Tzipora Obziler in straight sets Wednesday to advance to the quarter-finals of the US$600,000 Bangalore Open.

Williams, the world No. 10 and third seed, defeated Obziler 7-5, 6-0 in one hour and 15 minutes, despite being broken twice in the first set. Williams received a first-round bye. Serena started on a sedate note being broken by Tzipora in the very first game. However, Serena broke back with ease to level the game score but again dropped her serve in the third to trail 1-2.

The spring seemed to be missing in Serena's step as she moved around slowly, allowing the Israeli to call the shots for some time.

Unforced errors also bothered her and she failed to break Tripora serves in the rest of the set.

The two held their serve from the fourth game even as Serena was often caught on the wrong foot returning her opponent's shots. Four double faults in the first set made things difficult for the American.

However, at 5-5 Serena battled to hold her serve even as Tzipora earned a break point. However, Serena saved it slamming down an ace and went on to lead 6-5 as Tzipora netted a strong forehand return from Serena.

Serena finally found her touch in the 12th game as she raced to a 40-0 rpt 40-0 lead repeatedly hitting her tradmark sledge hammer shots and forced the Israeli to commit errors and went one-set up (7-5).

While Serena took 50 minutes to win the first set, she finished the second set in half the time (25). The 26 year-old American did not allow Obziler to settle down in the second set and proved her spremrcy in both serve and backhand strokes. After giving a tough fight in the first set, Obziler failed to recover but continued to fight. Though she succeeded in draw level in the first and the third game, she failed to encash on the opportunities.

Serena broke her opponent in the second game and facing no resistence from Oblizer, continued to lead and wrapped up the match winning the third set 6-0.

In her post match press conference, Serena said '' I was not 100 per cent fit. I was testing my physical fitness, since I had suffered an injury during the Australian Open early this year.'' ''It went on well. I am happy to be here and looking forward to other matches on the way to final'', she said.

Fourth-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland came back to defeat Aiko Nakamura of Japan. The world No. 12 needed almost two hours to complete the 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-2 victory.

"A win is a win. I was not comfortable for the first hour or so, but I kept firing myself up," said Schnyder.
In other second-round matches, Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan overcame Agnes Szavay of Hungary 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, and Anastasia Rodionova of Russia beat Austria's Sybille Bammer 7-6 (5), 6-2.


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