(March 20, 2014) Adorned in an outfit sporting the Miami Dolphins colors of orange and turquoise, Dolphins co-owner and No. 1 player Serena Williams fought off some rust and a game in the first set but won the last five games of the match to beat Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6 (7), 6-2 in her opening match at the Sony Open.
Williams jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the opening set, only to see her opponent take the next four games. Williams broke Shvedova while she was serving for the set at 5-4. The set ended with a tiebreak, in which Williams fell behind 3-6. Williams rallied to save three set points and eventually win it 9-7 ending the set with a pair of aces and a backhand winner.
“It was an incredibly tough first set,” Williams said of the 69-minute first set. “I just needed to relax and yet keep up the intensity.”
“Well, she was doing a little bit of everything,” William said to media of her opponent. “She was hitting hard; she was hitting soft; she was doing a little bit of everything.
“I was making a little more errors than what I should have been making, what I should’ve made, and that kind of threw me for a loop, as well.
“I just tried to come back and stay into the match.”
Williams was restored to her dominant self in the second set, winning the last 5 games of the set to give her the match.
Although Williams hit only 61% of her first serves, she rocketed 14 aces past Shvedova.
Defending Sony Open champion Williams, who considers this her hometown tournament as she lives an hours away in Palm Beach Gardens, is looking to take her seventh crown in Key Biscayne.
“I obviously love playing here,” she told the fans in the audience on court after the match. “I’m just happy to have a win today.”
Williams was asked to comment on her new outfit.
“Actually, we’re playing ‑‑ Nike and I wanted to pay homage to my team that I co‑own, so it was like, we should totally do the Dolphin colors. Just have something really fun for Miami. You know, Dolphins are great, so just, Go Dolphins, go Fins.”
Williams was asked about what advice she’s giver her NFL team: “Well for me it’s always staying positive. There is always ups and downs in one’s career. It’s about overcoming those and knowing we have a great roster, we have a great team, and we can do just as well as any other team.
“We never want to get down or get negative. Just stay positive.”
First match for me in a few weeks, so I definitely ‑‑ I was happy to get through it,” Williams said. “I think she played really well.
“I’m always really hard on myself. I always think I can play better. I had a tremendous amount of unforced errors. I missed some shots I was not missing before. I have a lot of room for improvement, which in my mind is a good thing.”
Next opponent for Williams will be France’s Caroline Garcia.