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Miami Open: Serena Williams defeats but hails compatriot Christina McHale

American World No 1 all praise for compatriot, who stretched her to three sets before going down 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, in keenly-contested Round Two clash

Miami: Serena Williams was pushed to three sets before she saw off fellow American Christina McHale to reach the third round of the Miami Open yesterday.

Serena Williams returns to Christina McHale during their Miami Open second round tie. Pic/AFP
Serena Williams returns to Christina McHale during their Miami Open second round tie. Pic/AFP

McHale saved a match point in the second set, taking it 7-5 to force a decider, but Williams then broke serve twice to close out a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 win in two hours and seven minutes.

Williams said in her on-court interview: “She definitely started to fight harder, and is clearly capable of playing great tennis. She showed that today.

Rising star: Christina McHale
Rising star: Christina McHale

“Miami is such a special place for me. I grew up wandering the grounds like everyone here, and now I’m playing here and it’s always such a special moment.”

Williams’ next opponent will be No 97 Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan, who upset 31st seed Daria Gavrilova 7-5, 6-3. Eleventh seed Lucie Safarova also bowed out losing  6-2, 6-3 to Yanina Wickmayer.

Andrea Petkovic was beaten 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 7-6 (7/2) by France’s Caroline Garcia while Sam Stosur also suffered a three-set defeat, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to Germany’s Julia Goerges.

Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska though brushed  aside France’s Alize Cornet 6-0, 6-1, while Simona Halep beat Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 7-5 and Petra Kvitova won 6-1, 6-4 against Irina Falconi.

Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic and Elina Svitolina had straight-sets wins over Vania King, Teliana Pereira and Zhang Shuai respectively.

Among the men, Sergiy Stakhovsky made it through with a 7-6, 7-5 win over Nicolas Jarry while Marcos Baghdatis beat Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-4 to set up a clash with the similarly combustible Nick Kyrgios.

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