Serena returns to form as Wozniacki slumps again

Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:52am EDT
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(Reuters) - Serena Williams put herself back on the winning track in the American's final warm-up event before the U.S. Open with a 7-5 6-3 win over Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova in her opening match at the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday.

The defending champion enjoyed a successful return to Cincinnati but Carolina Wozniacki, who Williams beat in the final at Flushing Meadows last year, continued her poor build-up for New York with a straight sets loss to Victoria Azarenka.

Williams prevailed in 90 minutes and showed none of the uncharacteristic struggles that dogged her during last week's semi-final loss to Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic in Toronto.

The world number one, who will aim for a rare sweep of the four grand slam events at the Aug. 31-Sept. 13 U.S. Open, broke Pironkova's serve once in each set and then sealed victory in style with her 15th ace of the second round match.

"There wasn't anything really tactical in particular for me today, I always just try to play my game and be consistent and stay focused," Williams, who improved to 44-2 in 2015, said in a courtside interview.

The American will meet Karin Knapp in the third round after the Italian advanced with a 6-4 6-1 win over Russia's Daria Gavrilova.

Williams is skipping next week's Connecticut Open in order to prepare for the U.S. Open, where she will look to earn her fifth consecutive grand slam singles title and fourth of 2015.

"There's definitely a lot of pressure... I would like to win the Open, probably more than anyone else," she said.

"Whether I do or not, I'm going to try win it this year or next year and just keep going for that. So, it's not the end of the world."   Continued...

Aug 19, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Serena Williams (USA) charges the net to return a shot against Tsventana Pironkova (not pictured) on day five during the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament at Linder Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports