Serena Williams is hungry for success. An old story line, yes, but it’s also always new. For Williams is both a perennial and a great adapter, expert in doing whatever she needs to surmount the latest challenge. She took an extended break after her unexpected US Open loss last fall, not playing a tournament match until a few weeks back in Auckland. That didn’t go well, as Williams bowed out to No. 72 Madison Brengle in the second round — after committing an astounding 88 unforced errors.
But the way Williams opened the Australian Open — her bid for a 23rd major singles title — she’ll need to play three matches to surpass 88 errors. She committed a not-inconsiderable 30 unforced errors in her first round match, but was still able to dispose of formidable 19-year-old Swiss Belinda Bencic, 6-4, 6-3. If Williams continues to show a drop in unforced errors, she’ll be a strong contender for #23 in Melbourne. With Serena, along with how she’s serving, unforced errors is the stat to watch. Last year in her Australian Open Finals loss to Angelique Kerber, Williams committed 46 unforced errors. Kerber and Williams are ranked No. 1 and No. 2.