Serena Williams Opens Season with Win in Auckland

Serena Williams is in New Zealand this week for the WTA Auckland event and the tournament started off right for her.

Serena Williams had no trouble with her first-round opponent at WTA Auckland 2017, a low-tiered tournament that builds up to the Australian Open later this month. Williams faced Paula Parmentier, a French veteran, and had no trouble with the match. Williams defeated Parmentier without a tiebreaker, winning the match in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.

Looking ahead, Williams will face either Jamie Loeb or Madison Brengle, two American players that have yet to complete their first-round match in Auckland. Brengle is the more-proven player and most would expect her to defeat Loeb, a player who is only in the main draw via qualifiers. The event in Auckland has been a rainy one so far, in fact Williams match was supposed to take place on Monday in Auckland (it’s already Tuesday there as of Monday evening in North America).

One of the bigger threats on Williams side of the draw is Barbora Strycova, a Czech national. She also advanced on Tuesday and is into the second round. There could be a semifinal between Strycova and Williams brewing, however Lucie Safarova is also into the second round on that half of the draw. At this time last season, Safarova was injured so she does have a lot to gain in terms of ranking points if sheΒ plays well to open 2017.

Despite the time-zone difference between the USA and New Zealand, WTA Auckland is loaded with American players. Besides Serena, Loeb, and Brengle, Lauren Davis is also in the draw among others. On the bottom half of the tournament Venus Williams lurks, a player with a reasonable chance to make the final for what could be an all-Williams final from Auckland. Caroline Wozniacki is the main spoiler in the tournament for that, the Dane seeded third and sharing a draw to the final with Venus.


Shane Lambert