Williams led the entire first set. In the second, Keys redeemed herself taking an early lead of 3-1, but Williams slowly chipped away at her momentum and force a tiebreaker.
Keys and Williams tugged back-and-fourth for the final point of the second set, as Keys fought for a third set and a chance at victory.
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Williams, who is fresh off a first-round Wimbledon loss to Atlanta-born Coco Gauff, said she hopes the high-level of talent in the exhibition match will eventually bring a women's tournament to the Atlanta Open. She played in the exhibition match in 2017, where she also bested her opponent, Genie Bouchard, in straight sets.
“We want Atlanta to be a women’s tournament,” Williams said. “But it just hasn’t been given that opportunity. By playing in the exhibition, we are finding a way to get the women to Atlanta.”