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Rome: Petrova outplays Serena before crumbling in the second and third set

In the first set of the second-round meeting between Nadia Petrova and Serena Williams at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Petrova seemed to be striding towards ending Williams' winning streak on clay, but already in the beginning of the second set the momentum changed in the dramatic fourth game and the American marched on to grab her 15th straight win.

In the beginning of the match Petrova was confident on her shots, especially on serve, never facing a break opint, and an early break of Williams earned her the first set. Until 1-1 in the second set, Williams was inferior, as Petrova lost just six points in her six service games. And in the following game things looked to be going the Russian's way, as she had an opportunity to break Serena to love! But Petrova's nerves and errors and Serena's determination clashed and the American held her serve after saving five break points. Since then the set was all hers, even though she dropped serve in the seventh game. In the third set both players held their serves until the eighth game when Serena struck again and then served out for the match. Final score: 4-6 6-2 6-3.

The ninth-seeded Williams will next play Anabel Medina Garrigues, who had an easy passage into the third round when Caroline Wozniacki retired trailing 4-6 0-4, stating upper respiratory illness. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)

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