Williams nears number one spot

Williams at Roland Garros 21012Photo: y.caradec, flickr

Williams at Roland Garros 2012
Photo: y.caradec, flickr

Serena Williams is now just two matches away from reclaiming the world number one spot after beginning her challenge for the 2013 Qatar Total Open in style with a 6-2 6-1 win over Russian qualifier Daria Gavrilova.

Williams, 31, only needs to make the semis in Doha to leapfrog current world number one Victoria Azarenka to the top of the WTA and considering her potential route this week should have no problem with that task.

Having clinically dispatched Gavrilova without much trouble, Williams will most likely face Urszula Radwanska in the third round before an eagerly anticipated tie with either seventh seed Petra Kvitova or Nadia Petrova.

Whoever she faces the second seed will feel she has enough in the tank to make the final four, although there is one slight concern regarding her fitness.

Williams twisted her ankle pretty badly at the Australian Open last month and is wearing heavy strapping around it. Luckily her power was enough to see her through the Gavrilova clash, for Williams only hit 52% of her first serves and with two more matches to play before the semis she may start to feel the pain.

Match Stats: Serena v Gavrilova Image: MatchStat

Match Stats: Serena v Gavrilova
Image: MatchStat

“I have it heavily taped,” Williams told reporters after the match. “As long as the tape doesn’t get loose, it feels really good.

“Physically feeling better is so good, and hopefully I can stay on that level.”

Indeed, Williams is aiming to reach the level once met almost 11 years ago, when she was world number one in 2002. Although she briefly picked it up again in 2009, she has taken the smart decision throughout her career to play less tournaments, meaning that despite winning a staggering 15 Grand Slams, she has never held that number one rank for too long.

Williams in Doha 2008 Photo: Jet Magbanua, flickr

Williams in Doha 2008
Photo: Jet Magbanua, flickr

Now is the time for Williams to rise again and confirm her status as the best in the world. She may not have won in Australia but those two Grand Slams last summer and an Olympic gold medal proved to us fans she is far better than her ranking suggests.

Also in Doha, third-seed Maria Sharapova swept through to the third round with a 6-3 6-2 win over French qualifier Caroline Garcia and is in line to meet Williams in the semis.

In the top half of the draw, Azarenka dispatched Romina Oprandi of Switzerland 6-2 6-3 and could face Sara Errani in the quarters before a first-v-fourth clash with Agnieszka Radwanska.

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