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Serena Williams vs Rebecca Peterson WTA Rome Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Serena returns to action in Rome

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 13 May 2019
  • Serena Williams vs Rebecca Peterson is live from Rome on Minday, 13 May from 1:00pm local time/ 12:00pm BST
  • Serena won their only previous meeting in Miami
Serena Williams returns to action in Rome

Serena Williams returns to action on Monday as she takes on Swedish qualifier, Rebecca Peterson in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.

Williams is playing her first match since being forced to withdraw from a scheduled third round meeting with Qiang Wang at the Miami Open. This is just her fourth tournament of the year, with her only other official appearances being at the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami.

The American eased her way into the season at the Hopman Cup, where she went 3-0 in her singles matches- defeating Maria Sakkari, Belinda Bencic and Katie Boulter- and she looked very sharp in the opening week of the Australian Open, blasting past Tatjana Maria, Eugenie Bouchard and Dayana Yastremska to reach the fourth round. Williams contested an early contender for match of the season against Simona Halep, outlasting the Romanian, 6-4 4-6 7-5, and looked on course for a semi-final berth when she opened up a 5-1 lead over Karolina Pliskova in the quarter finals. However, the 23-time major champion appeared to hurt her ankle while serving for the match, and she would go on to miss four match points, as Pliskova launched a dramatic fight back to win the final six games and knock out the American.

Williams next appeared at Indian Wells, where she beat Victoria Azarenka in another high-quality contest but retired against Garbine Muguruza in the next round after feeling “extreme dizziness and extreme fatigue” early in the second set. She recovered in time to take her place in the Miami Open, but her participation at the Hard Rock Stadium also ended prematurely as the she pulled out of the tournament with a knee complaint ahead of a third round meeting with Wang. She had opened the tournament with a three-set win over Peterson- who incidentally she meets again in Rome on Monday.

Serena is still seeking her first title since the 2017 Australian Open. In her ten tournaments since returning from maternity leave last March, she has reserved her best for the biggest meets, reaching finals at Wimbledon and the US Open last year, and the quarter finals in Australia earlier this season. She is a four-time champion in Rome, and claimed the title in her most recent visit to the city in 2016. Can the 37-year-old end her title drought in the Italian capital? She has got a very tough draw to contend with, with Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and Simona Halep all in her quarter, but she must first get past Peterson in the first round on Monday.

Peterson is competing in Rome for the first time in her career, and she got into the main draw after taking out Veronika Kudermetova and Sam Stosur in straight sets in the qualifying rounds.

The Swede is playing her first tournament since reaching the quarter finals in Rabat, where she defeated Viktorija Golubic and Polona Hercog before falling to Ajla Tomljanovic. That Rabat showing at the start of May remains her best performance this season- the only tournament where she’s won consecutive matches in 2019. Peterson lost tournament openers in Acapulco and Indian Wells, while she went just one round better at the Australian Open, Miami, Lugano and Istanbul. She has had more joy at lower-tier events, making the quarter finals at the WTA 125K meet at Newport Beach, and reaching the semi-finals at the ITF W100 event in Michigan at the start of February.

The Swede is currently ranked 58th in the world, six spots off her career-high ranking of 52nd- a position she attained in October last year. Peterson began last season at 149th in the world, but she rose steadily through the year, breaking into the top 100 for the first time in the middle of May, and ending the year at 63rd on the rankings. Her best WTA result in 2018 was a semi-final in Acapulco, while she also made the third round of the US Open later in the year- her best Grand Slam performance- and the second round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

Peterson pushed Serena Williams to three sets in their only previous meeting in Miami, and given that Williams could be rusty having not played since that match, there could be an opportunity in there for the qualifier to cause an upset. Her forehand is her most potent wing, and that shot has got to fire if she is to have a chance on Monday. That said, she’ll be up against the great Serena Williams. There may be the initial bout of rustiness, but Williams usually finds a way to win these comeback matches regardless of the time spent on the sidelines.

Serena Williams vs Rebecca Peterson is live from Rome on Minday, 13 May from 1:00pm local time/ 12:00pm BST
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Serena Williams vs Rebecca Peterson WTA Rome Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Serena returns to action in Rome

Serena Williams plays her first match since the Miami Open when she takes on Rebecca Peterson in Rome on Monday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online

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