BRISBANE: World number one Serena Williams opened her 2014 season with a hard-fought 6-4, 6-4 win over Germany’s Andrea Petkovic in the second round of the Brisbane International on Tuesday.
Serena, who was given a bye in the first round, was pushed hard by the unseeded Petkovic in front of a packed crowd at Pat Rafter Arena.
The defending champion now goes on to face Dominika Cibulkova in the quarter-finals after the ninth seeded Slovakian beat Japanese Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
“It was an intense match, which was really good,” said Serena.
“She’s a good player. She’s been in the top 10 before and she was on her way to being even better [before injury]. It was a good match for me.”
“My fitness is definitely where it should be,” she added. “I felt great out there – never actually felt winded.”
Meanwhile, fourth seed Jelena Jankovic eased through to the quarter-finals almost unnoticed when she beat Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine 6-1, 6-3.
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