It took the fifth-ranked Williams almost 2 1/2 hours to defeat the 100th-ranked Mirza on the green clay of stadium court at the tennis center on Daniel Island. Williams, who won the Family Circle five years ago, is now 3-0 against Mirza.
“When she’s playing against me, she’s got to go for it and I think there’s also a sense of nothing to lose,” Williams said. “When you look at the numbers and the rankings and statistics, you know, I’m supposed to win this match, so I think that gives her an opportunity to swing freely.”
It appeared Williams had the match well in hand, winning the first set 6-1, although it took 46 minutes to do so. She led 3-1 in the second before Mirza rattled off five straight games, including breaking Williams at love to take a 5-3 lead and holding serve in the final game, which went to deuce eight times.
Williams recovered to easily win the third set.
“These kind of matches are great to pull out,” she said. “I’ve been in these situations before, so I rely on that.”
Photos by AP