ROME: World number one Serena Williams overcame a midmatch slump to defeat unseeded Andrea Petkovic in three sets at the Foro Italico to reach the quarter-finals of the Rome Open.
The Australian Open champion won 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 against the 49th ranked German but rarely looked to be at her best. Things got interesting in the second set as Petkovic broke Williams in the fourth game and had three break points for a 5-1 lead in the favourite’s next service game. Serena saved the break points, held and then broke back after Petkovic netted a forehand, a regular feature of her play.
However, the German of Serbian origin then stepped up her game and made two outright forehand winners and a backhand winner on break point to move ahead 5-3. Serena had two chances to break back immediately but could not take either and she handed her opponent the set with a netted forehand. That seemed to focus her mind, though, and she romped through the final set with little fuss.