Serena Williams advances to quarterfinals with sweep
By: RYAN FINLEY - Staff Writer LA COSTA ---- Serena Williams overcame a slow start with strong service play and defeated Russian Elena Bovina, 6-4, 6-2 on Thursday night in the third round of the Acura Classic at La Costa Resort and Spa.
Williams notched five aces to advance to the tournament's quarterfinals, which start this morning at 10. Williams will take on Vera Zvonareva at 1 p.m.
"The key to the match boiled down to who could hold serve," Williams said. "I felt my serve carried me today through the match."
Williams seemed to snap out of an early-match funk while serving and ahead 3-2 in the first. Trailing love-40, Williams battled to force deuce and win the game.
She broke Bovina's serve in the ensuing game to make it 5-2 and, after losing the next two games, put her opponent away with a 110-mph ace.
Bovina took a 2-1 lead in the second set thanks to steady rally play, but eventually fell victim to Williams' overwhelming serve and tough ground strokes. Williams broke Bovina's serve to take a 3-2 lead, then took the final three games and the match.
Williams, who made the finals at Wimbledon and last week's JPMorgan Chase Open, said she's finally hitting her stride on the court.
"I feel this is the best I've played in the past few weeks," Williams said. "Baby steps, but I'll get there."