Olympic champion Serena Williams defeats the wind and Gavrilova in tough opening encounter

Serena Williams - 2016 BNP Paribas Open -DSC_4734

Olympic gold medalist at London 2012 Serena Williams opened her defence of the singles title against Australian Daria Gavrilova and was made to work hard for the win, as her opponent chased down every ball.

With heavy windy conditions not making it easy for fluent tennis, both players struggled early on, as Williams broke serve but was pulled back by some clever countering from at 2-2. Williams seemed to then mastered the conditions as she raced to a 5-3 lead, but an epic game followed. Williams just couldn't match the Australian, who was sent from one side of the court to the other, but continued to get the ball over the net and managed to break the American's serve. However, Gavrilova was made to pay, as she lost the consequent game and set 6-4.

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After a competitive first set, the second one was a more straightforward affair for Williams, who never looked at ease during the match, but used sheer brute force and power at times with the occasional moments of brilliance. That was enough for her to go through to the next round, winning the second set 6-2.

Williams is into the second round and will hope for better conditions as she looks to add to her already impressive medal tally at the Olympics.

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