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Serena tested but triumphant

AFP
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Sharapova beats Kurumi Nara 6-3, 6-4

Six-time winner Serena Williams survived a first-set scare before overcoming Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6 (9/7), 6-2 on Thursday to power into the third round of the ATP and WTA Miami Masters.

The top-seeded defending champion will next face France's Caroline Garcia after dispatching her Kazak rival in one hour, 45 minutes.

Fourth seed Maria Sharapova, the 2013 runner-up to Williams, outlasted Japan's Kurumi Nara 6-3, 6-4 in another opening test.

A tough first set

Williams lost a 3-1 lead and trailed 3-5 as Shvedova shifted her game up a gear. Williams got back on track in the nick of time with a break for 5-all. A love game then ended with an ace for Williams before the set went to a tie-breaker.

In the decider, the 32-year-old Williams saved three set points as a nervous Shvedova missed her big upset chance.

In one dramatic moment, a fight broke out in the upper deck of spectators, forcing a pause for security to intervene after Shvedova had double-faulted on her second set point.

After she also missed on a third, the Kazak handed over a set point to Williams, who finally finished off the 63-minute set on her second opportunity.

]Sharapova was down 1-3 in the 64-minute second set before rallying to beat Nara, who won her first WTA title in Rio de Janeiro last month. Sharapova next faces Lucie Safarova.AFP


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