• China Open

Williams withstands tough Schiavone test

ESPN staff
October 1, 2013
Serena was all smiles at the China Open party

Serena Williams recorded a hard-fought 6-4 7-5 win over Francesca Schiavone to book her place in the third round at the China Open in Beijing.

World No. 1 Williams lost just one game to Schiavone during their US Open tie in August, but it took the American just shy of two hours to clinch victory at the National Tennis Centre.

Despite starting strongly, Williams did not break the Italian's serve until the tenth game to take the opening set - but Schiavone responded immediately with a break of serve in the first game of the second.

Rafa's world No. 1 bid underway

Nadal saw off Giraldo © Getty Images
  • Rafael Nadal will replace Novak Djokovic as world No. 1 if he reaches the final of the China Open. Both were in action on Tuesday.
  • Click here to see how they fared

Schiavone led 5-3 and looked good to take the match into a decider when she earned three set points, but Williams saved all three before winning 15 of the last 17 points to complete her win and set up a clash with Maria Kirilenko, who defeated Urszula Radwanska in straight sets.

Williams maintained she had always expected a tough match despite easing past her opponent at Flushing Meadows, but held high praise for Schiavone.

"It didn't surprise me," Williams said. "I was definitely more surprised that I played so well in the [US] Open but it was a different circumstance - even though the scoreline looked much easier at the Open, it wasn't an easy match.

"But as for Francesca playing so well, today, I wasn't surprised about that. I told her she was really motivating because she's a little older than me, but she's so fit and just played so well today. For me, it was inspiring."

However, it proved a difficult day for the No. 1 seed's sister Venus Williams, who lost 6-1 6-2 in her opening match with Sabine Lisicki. Meanwhile, Caroline Wozniacki saw off Monica Niculescu 6-3 6-1 in her second round match and will face Sloane Stephens, who saw off Eugenie Bouchard 6-1 1-6 6-4.

Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova recovered to see off Varvara Lepchenko 2-6 6-2 6-0 and set up a third round match with fifth seed Sara Errani.

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