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Serena beats wind, Giorgi in Auckland first round

Rogers Cup Toronto - Day 8

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 10: Serena Williams of the United States reacts after defeating Marie Bouzkova of Czech Republic following a semifinal match on Day 8 of the Rogers Cup at Aviva Centre on August 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Serena Williams kept her cool to win at the ASB Classic in her first singles match of 2020.

Williams defeated Camila Giorgi 6-3, 6-2 in her opening singles match, prevailing despite a gusting wind.

When Williams last played the tournament in 2017 she was blown off the court by a boisterous summer wind and unseeded compatriot Madison Brengle in the second round. She left calling Auckland the worst place she had ever played and vowing never to return. Williams attributes part of her outburst to troubles early in her pregnancy.

“Looking back it’s just so surreal and crazy so now that I’m here I just have all these funny memories of me being miserable in the first trimester of pregnancy,” Williams said.

Williams teamed for the first time with Caroline Wozniacki on Monday night to win her first round doubles.

The singles win was not easy. Giorgi, a lucky loser ranked 99, put up a strong fight in both sets and Williams once again found difficulty with a swirling breeze.

She took 39 minutes to win the first set with a single service break in the eighth game but was able to bring her power to bear more often in the second set.

“I’ve always had tough matches against Giorgi so I knew it was going to be really tough,” she said. “But I think the doubles really helped.’

She said the doubles allowed her to adjust to the conditions.

“It’s really good to know I still have some power left in my arm and in my legs.”