Many people were looking forward to seeing how well Serena Williams would play in her first clay court match of the season. The world number one did not show any sign of rustiness, as she fought off Anna-Lena Friedsam to progress into the third round of the tournament in Rome.
The two players had met on one previous occasion prior to their match today. In the last match, it was Williams who picked up the victory. Williams was taken to three sets by Friedsam, but the world number one was too strong for the German.
Early break is all Williams needs
Fridsam opened the match, if she had any early nerves she did not show it as she won her service game. Williams then stepped up to the service line and the world number one looked comfortable, serving the game out with ease.
In the third game of the set, Williams got the upper hand. Williams worked herself into a position to break Friedsam, and despite Friedsam's best efforts she could do nothing to stop Williams from taking her first break point opportunity and putting herself ahead in the set. The world number one consolidated the break with a strong hold of service. Williams raced through her serving game without dropping a point, to give herself a 3-1 lead.
From here both players looked comfortable whilst serving, with neither player losing more than two points during their service games. There was not another break point opportunity until the ninth game. In this game, Friedsam had to hold her service to keep herself in the set. At one stage it did not look likely as Williams had a chance to break the German. This time around, though, Friedsam fought off the opportunity before going on to hold her serve, and keep herself in the set for at least one more game.
With the score at 5-4 in her favor, Williams was serving for the set. The American did not falter as she comfortably served the set out, utilizing her second set point opportunity to win the first set and put herself in a commanding position in the match.
Williams overcomes battling Friedsam
Friedsam did not let the disappointment of losing the first set get to her as she started the second set strongly. The German won her service game before working herself into a position to break Williams. Unfortunately for Friedsam she could not capitalize on her first break point chance of the match, which allowed Williams to eventually hold her service.
In the very next game, Friedsam was made to rue the missed opportunity to break Williams. The German did her best to halt Williams but could not do anything to prevent Williams from making the most of her break point opportunity and putting herself a set and a break ahead in the match.
Williams's lead did not last long though, as Friedsam fought back. The young German battled hard and got her reward, as she broke Williams straight back. Unfortunately for Friedsam the score was not level for long, as Williams showed why she is the world number one. The American overpowered Friedsam in the fifth game, as she went on to break her young opponent once again.
With the lead in the set once again, Williams just had to hold her serve to win the match. This time around the world number one did not faulter as she consolidated the break with a love hold. Just like in the first set, both players went on to win their next service games with ease, this was until the ninth game of the set.
The pressure of needing to win the game to keep herself in the match clearly affected Friedsam. The German battled until the end, but it was not good enough as Williams pounced to take the game, set and match on the first time of asking.