STANFORD, California (AP) – Four days after capturing the singles’ title at Wimbledon, top-seeded Serena Williams breezed past American compatriot Nicole Gibbs 6-2, 6-1 in the second round of the Bank of the West on Wednesday.
“I couldn’t quite believe I was playing today,“ Williams said. “But I’m healthy and I have a heartbeat so I didn’t have a reason not to. I could have felt better.“
Gibbs, the U.S. collegiate champion, double-faulted on her first service point but regained her composure and played a number of strong points the rest of the way.
“I kind of expected that,“ Gibbs said. “I could laugh at that one. She is such a hero to me and I had her so built up in my mind I thought she was going to do no wrong. I collected a lot of experience points out there if not physical points.“
Williams, who credited her win in this tournament last year as rejuvenating her career, said it took some time to adjust to the different conditions between Wimbledon grass and California hard court.
“I definitely felt sluggish and it was good to get the win over with,“ she said. “I’m still waking up at 2 a.m.“
When Williams discovered that Gibbs once served as her ball girl and looked up to her, she was flattered.
“To know someone still wants to be like me, that’s kind of awesome,“ Williams said. “When I played Monica Seles for the first time it was kind of cool.“
Williams will meet sixth-seeded Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa in Friday’s quarterfinal. Scheepers advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over wild card Michelle Larcher De Brito of Portugal.