Friday, April 5, 2013

...I don't think you ever walk out on the court and say "I'm going to beat Serena today."
Mallory Burdette

Serena Williams (photo by Daniel Ward)
Mallory Burdette, who held her nerve through six match points against Sabine Lisicki in the second round of the Family Circle Cup, held her nerve again today against Serena Williams. She was out-played, but Burdette gave it her all, and made the first set quite competitive. Of note was the seventh game of that set, which was quite long, and which Burdette finally won with an ace.

Serving at 4-5, with Williams holding a break point, Burdette hit a big serve, forcing Williams to toss the ball softly into the air with her racket. Burdette rushed forward and went for a swinging volley, but the ball wound up hitting the net. Williams would go on to win that set, 6-4.

Burdette broke Williams in the first game of the second set, but she was broken right back. At 2-all, Burdette had a break point, but once again tried for a swinging volley and couldn't get the ball over the net. Wiliams broke Burdette in the next game, and then won the remaining games for a 6-2 set win and a place in the semifinals. To no one's surprise, the defending champion served at a very high level, which helped her to get through the second set with relative ease.

Burdette sounded very positive after the match, and said that if she had to play Williams again tomorrow, the main thing she would do differently would be to change her level of belief in herself. 

"That was really, really fun," Burdette said of the match, "and it's always a great learning experience."

Williams' opponent in the semifinals will be her sister, Venus. 

Mallory Burdette (photo by Daniel Ward)

Later in the day, Williams returned to the stadium and defeated Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-1; last year, Williams defeated Safarova in the final.  Earlier, Safarova had played three sets to beat Sorana Cirstea. All the catch-up was necessary because most of yesterday's matches had to be postponed because of rain.


Sunny nine said...

Your quote Diane:
...I don't think you ever walk out on the court and say "I'm going to beat Serena today."
Mallory Burdette

If more women said it and believed they would beat Serena and make things more interesting.

Diane said...

In fairness, it was an answer to a question about whether she had that thought when she stepped onto the court (hence, the ellipses). And given Burdette's experience, it was probably the right thing to say.

But that aside--there's a lack of belief, for sure, that contributes to losses against top players. Look how Radwanska played against Serena recently.