SERENA Williams put up a grand show for the Filipino fans as the world No. 1 player defeated Kirsten Flipkens, 6-3, in their women’s singles match in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) Manila leg on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Williams put behind her early struggles, including a loss in the mixed doubles, by displaying sheer power and athleticism in her first and only appearance in the Manila leg of the tournament.
The effort earned her wild cheers from Filipino fans even though the American netter was playing for the Singapore Slammers.
“It wasn’t easy but it was a lot of fun. It’s overwhelming,” said Williams in an interview heard by the MOA Arena crowd.
Prior to the win, the top-ranked woman netter in the world, who arrived in the country last Saturday night, was coming off a 6-1 loss to the Manila Mavericks mixed doubles pair of Flipkens and Andy Murray.
In the singles match though, the 33-year-old Williams broke after trailing 15-40 for a 3-1 lead, bu after holding serve in the next game, she gave up two games including back-to-back double faults that made it 4-3.
But the other half of the celebrated Williams sisters broke back in the eighth with a fine crosscourt forehand winner.
An ace in the ninth set up the final scoreline for Williams.
Cheers rang around the arena when Williams entered the playing court to warm up. The cheers got even louder during the players’ introductions.
But Williams and Hewitt fell behind early in their mixed doubles match, 5-0, a deficit that was too much to overcome even for the best woman tennis player today.