Serena Williams faces compatriot Bernarda Pera in the first round of the Top Seed Open in Lexington on Tuesday as…
Serena Williams faces compatriot Bernarda Pera in the first round of the Top Seed Open in Lexington on Tuesday as the 23-time Grand Slam champion plays her first match since February.
Serena Williams vs Pera is live from Lexington on Tuesday 11 August at 11am local/4pm BST
After the suspension of the WTA Tour which lasted for five months, International-level tournaments take place this week on clay in Prague and on hard courts in Lexington, Kentucky.
Serena Williams, currently ranked world no. 9, returns to competition in Lexington where she heads the field and will open her campaign against compatriot Bernarda Pera on Tuesday.
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
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Serena Williams vs Bernarda Pera: Head-to-head
Serena Williams and Bernarda Pera have never played before.
Serena Williams vs Bernarda Pera: Preview
If there’s any player who has experience in coming back from lengthy spells out of competition, it’s Serena Williams. The 23-time Grand Slam champion has had several extended injury breaks in her career and has played an increasingly limited schedule for years.
It’s clear that coming back from those long breaks is becoming more difficult for Williams, who has not won a Grand Slam title since returning from maternity leave – although the fact that she has reached four finals is a fairly clear indication that she is still the biggest force to be reckoned with in women’s tennis.
Williams opened her 2020 season by winning the ASB Classic in Auckland, only to fall in an error-strewn performance against Wang Qiang in the third round of the Australian Open, and her last match was an extremely tight defeat to Anastasija Sevastova during the Fed Cup tie against Latvia in early February. It’s no longer as much of a given that Williams will beat most opponents, put it that way.
It’s world no. 60 Bernarda Pera who has the challenge of trying to take out Williams before the top seed can get her legs going. The 25-year-old reached her career-high ranking of world no. 59 in March after reaching three WTA Tour semifinals during the 2019 season – all on clay – and winning the $100k in Trnava to boot. Her hard-court results have been consistently much less impressive throughout her career, although her solitary victory over a top-10 player did come on hard courts at the Australian Open in 2018 when she beat Johanna Konta.
Since then, she’s lost three subsequent meetings with top players, getting just three games from Karolina Pliskova in Adelaide in Doha before the shutdown.
Pera is less dangerous on this surface than she would be on clay, but she will have nothing to lose against Williams, and Williams’s biggest opponent in this clash is her own lack of match fitness. She’s also playing unusually early in the day, presumably by her own request with rain forecast. Williams is quite capable of hitting herself off the court, but she is also more than capable of toughing out a good-enough win in Lexington.