Williams opens with ‘awkward’ win over Giorgi

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BY JEFF HARTSELL

jhartsell@postandcourier.com

In the movie of Serena Williams’ life, Tuesday’s routine 6-2, 6-3 dismissal of Camila Giorgi at the Family Circle Cup will wind up on the cutting room floor.

As the new documentary “Venus and Serena” — out on iTunes this week and due in theaters on May 13 — will show, the life of the reigning queen of women’s tennis is stuffed full of trophies, winnings and drama.

“It was a great time for the movie to capture,” said Serena, who along with Venus allowed cameras to follow her during an injury plagued 2011 season. “I had sort of fallen from grace.”

The story of how Serena, 31, recovered from a life-threatening pulmonary embolism — she still has to give herself shots before she flies in an airplane — to reclaim the No. 1 spot surely will be compelling to watch.

Serena, the oldest player to be ranked No. 1, seems in a good place after the travails of 2011. She recently did a makeover on her Paris apartment, going for a shabby chic feel with neutral colors and “lots of pink.” She surprised fans in Miami last week by riding a rental bike from her hotel to the tournament site to avoid traffic.

“I really don’t do bicycles,” she confessed.

Her win Tuesday over the 21-year-old Giorgi, ranked No. 85, was less compelling. But for Serena — who won her 48th career title in Miami just three days earlier, on hardcourts — the quick transition to the green clay of Billie Jean King Court was satisfying.

“It was definitely not great for me,” said Williams, who took a three-set win over Maria Sharapova in the Miami finals. “I think I played well, but I wasn’t great footing-wise, just trying to get my stability. But it feels good, because I felt like I played somebody really good today.”

Serena jumped to a 3-0 lead over Giorgi, who caught Williams’ eye by making the fourth round at Wimbledon last year.

The Italian, making her second appearance at the Family Circle up, stretched Williams out a bit after that, and forcing her to three match points before sailing a forehand long.

“A little awkward today,” Williams, wearing a neon orange top and a blue skirt, told the crowd afterward.

The fans hardly cared, as they seem eager to watch Williams claim a third Family Circle Cup title. That would put her behind only Chris Evert (eight) and Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf (four each) in the storied 41-year history of the tournament.

To get there, Serena might have to go through 2009 champ Sabine Lisicki in the third round and sister Venus, the 2004 winner, in the semifinals.

“I’m not playing great clay-court tennis yet,” Serena said. “But I’m glad I came here, so I can get ready for what will hopefully be another good clay court season.”

Serena’s dominating run to the Family Circle Cup title last year seemed to herald good things for her clay court season, but she lost in the first round at the French Open.

Of course, she made up for that with wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and an Olympic gold medal, providing a suitable epilogue for the movie.

Who knows? This year could bring a sequel.