Just two winners in the first set, contrasted with 18 unforced errors, ensured that Serena Williams found herself trailing Dominika Cibulkova 2-6 and her inability to pull herself together made her lose four more games to winning just one in the second set. But from 2-6 1-4, Serena's internal dialogue got her mental control back, which naturally translated into great play, and she won 11 of the last 13 games of the fourth-round match at the Sony Tennis Open in Miami. Final score: 2-6 6-4 6-2.
Serena is famous for many things, but her ability to swing into higher gear definitely tops the list. Serena is the only player to have won three Grand Slam titles while saving match points on the way. Moreover, she is 21-20 since 2009 when losing the first set.
I’ve been down worse. It’s nothing new. Just keep fighting. I never give up. Doesn’t matter whether it’s in life or on the tennis court, I keep fighting.
As for Cibulkova, in the same round of the same tournament last year she also faced a world No.1 player, then it was Victoria Azarenka, and Cibulkova also had a good initial lead, 6-1 5-2, before falling to the Belarusian 1-6 7-6(7) 7-5 in the absolute thriller. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)