DOHA, Qatar - Serena Williams avenged her French Open quarterfinal loss on Tuesday by beating Svetlana Kuznetsova in an extremely tight two-setter, 76(6) 75, as the round robin stage of the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009 completed its first day.
Kuznetsova beat Williams in Paris, rallying from 1-3 in the decider to win on the terre battue, 76(3) 57 75; she would end up going all the way to the title there. But Williams, the No.2 seed in Doha, got her revenge Tuesday, edging the Russian, seeded No.3, in a one-hour, 50-minute straight set match. Highlights: S.Williams vs. Kuznetsova
Williams put her rally cap on throughout the match but particularly in the first set, twice coming back from a break down and, in the tie-break, winning four straight points from 4-6 to win, 8-6; the first two of those points came on winners. The 28-year-old also came back from a break down early in the second set.
"When I was down two set points, I was thinking about how I ruined it, because I had a chance to be up 4-1 in the tie-break," Williams said. "I missed some easy shots and started thinking about how I was going to three sets. Next thing I knew I was still in the tie-break. It was kind of weird. Highlights: Day 1
"Svetlana and I were really going at it. You can tell how much we care about our sport and how passionate we are. We both really wanted to win. Neither one of us let up at all." Interviews: Serena's Revenge in Doha
"I think Serena played a good match," Kuznetsova said. "Compared to my other matches at the Championships, this was the best I played. I think her serve helped her win the match and I was a bit unlucky on a few points, but still it was a good match. I hope to do better in the next ones."
Among the line-up for Day 2 of the round robin portion is a family clash between the Williams sisters. Serena currently leads their head-to-head, 11-10, but Venus is 2-0 against her sister in the Middle East, winning here in Doha one year ago and at Dubai earlier this year.
"I think Serena will win tomorrow," Kuznetsova said. "You never know what will happen when they play each other, but probably Serena."
"I'm not playing Venus tomorrow, I'm playing an opponent," Serena said. "That's how I want to look at it. Just another opponent who wants to beat me."