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By Rohit Sharma
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Former World No.1 Serena Williams takes on 2010 Wimbledon Semifinalist Tsvetana Pironkova for a place in the second round of the 2011 Aegon International, a WTA premier event being played here in Eastbourne, England.
Click here to enjoy the point-by-point commentary of this match.
Serena Williams has seen the sides and facets of life that not many happen to encounter at such an age. A season-wrecking foot injury, followed by a life-threatening hematoma, Serena Williams has seen it all in the past 12 months. However, what hasn't changed is her attitude towards the game. Still ready to take on the best in the business with the same ferocity, Williams is out to play her first competitive match on return at the WTA premier event in Eastbourne. When asked about her approach towards play, Williams said - "I'm definitely still going to get really serious about line calls - I probably won't make the same threats though. I pretty much learned that lesson. My attitude hasn't changed. I still cracked a couple of racquets in practice. But that's good. It makes me feel I still have that desire, where I just want to win and do well."
Williams' opponent is her sister's conquerer at last year's Wimbledon, Tsvetana Pironkova. The Bulgarian star reached the semifinals last year by beating five time champion Venus Williams in superb display of baseline game. The 2011 season, however, opened on a disappointing note when Pironkova only managed to win four matches and suffered several early round exits. As she is drawn to meet Serena Williams in the latter's comeback match, she understands the pressure on her with Williams still not her 100% due to the lack of match play.
Both players have contested only one match before at the 2011 French Open and Serena won the tussle after losing the first set.
Where Pironkova's best came on grass a year ago at one of the finest stages in tennis - Wimbledon, Serena found herself struggling with a totally different kind of opponents lately - injuries and health problems. The American superstar though is extremely likely to clinch the comeback match in straight sets.
TennisEarth.com's Pick - Serena Williams in two closely contested sets.
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