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French Open: Serena Williams advances with victory in first evening match at Roland Garros | Tennis Information

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Williams started her bid for a record-equalling twenty fourth Grand Slam singles title with a straight-sets victory over Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu, within the first evening match staged at Roland Garros

Final Up to date: 31/05/21 11:08pm

Serena Williams has endured an underwhelming clay season to date, struggling early exits in Rome and Parma

Three-time champion Serena Williams started her bid for a record-equalling twenty fourth Grand Slam singles title with a straight-sets victory over Irina-Camelia Begu, to prevail within the first evening match staged at Roland Garros.

Williams, who lifted the French Open title in 2002, 2013 and 2015, isn’t any stranger to creating historical past, and she or he wrote one more chapter in her illustrious profession with a 7-6 6-2 victory over her spirited Romanian opponent.

There have been no followers in attendance on court docket Phillipe Chatrier as a result of 9pm curfew in Paris, however there was no scarcity of drama as Williams secured her 363rd Grand Slam victory, equalling Roger Federer’s tally following the Swiss’ victory earlier within the afternoon.

The 39-year-old arrived in Paris having misplaced two of her three matches on clay in 2021, and she or he was given a serious scare by Begu in a gruelling opening set.

Begu reached the fourth spherical at Roland Garros in 2016, and with 4 singles titles underneath her belt, she posed a better risk than her world No 74 rating might have indicated.

After the pair exchanged early holds, Williams was pressured to fend off two break factors; following up a deft forehand slice with a crunching backhand winner to retain her serve, earlier than breaking Begu moments later.

The 30-year-old responded instantly to scale back the arrears, though Williams showcased her motion, energy and precision with a shocking forehand winner to revive her cushion, earlier than firing in back-to-back aces to maneuver 5-2 forward.

Begu rallied magnificently by reeling off 4 consecutive video games to grab management of the set, however she was unable to serve it out, as a collection of high quality returns from the seventh seed helped her power a tie-break.

Williams has lost just one of her 78 opening round matches at Grand Slam tournaments

Williams has misplaced simply certainly one of her 78 opening spherical matches at Grand Slam tournaments

The pendulum swung at common intervals throughout a compelling breaker, however Williams displayed large resolve to outlive two set factors, with a sequence of 4 straight factors bookended by fearless forehand volleys.

The second set was a extra comfy affair for the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, who adopted up an instantaneous break of serve with a dominant maintain, sealed courtesy of a scrumptious drop shot.

Begu nonetheless displayed moments of high quality; a sensational working forehand winner at 3-2 down within the second set sparked applause from her embellished opponent, but it surely was not sufficient to beat the indomitable Williams, who has now received 77 of her 78 first-round matches at Grand Slam tournaments.

The American veteran, who’s bidding to match Margaret Courtroom’s haul of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, will tackle one other Romanian for a spot in spherical three, as she locks horns with world No 174 Mihaela Buzarnescu.

“It wasn’t straightforward in that first set. I used to be up and I felt like I had some alternatives and she or he performed rather well,” Williams mirrored in her post-match interview.

“She [Begu] is a very good participant, she has so many good wins, so I am comfortable I used to be capable of pull that first set and finally the match.”

Earlier within the day, Sofia Kenin defeated 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in a battle of the previous Grand Slam winners.

Final 12 months’s finalist Kenin – who claimed Australian Open glory in 2020 – prevailed 6-4 4-6 6-3 in a topsy-turvy tussle, which featured 16 breaks of serve.

Sofia Kenin edged out Jelena Ostapenko in a battle of the former Grand Slam winners

Sofia Kenin edged out Jelena Ostapenko in a battle of the previous Grand Slam winners

Kenin transformed 9 of her 10 break factors throughout the competition, to arrange a second-round showdown in opposition to her fellow American Hailey Baptiste.

Elsewhere, two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza crashed out within the opening spherical, shedding out 6-1 6-4 to Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk.

The 18-year-old produced a terrific show to account for 2016 winner Muguruza, sealing her first profession top-20 win within the course of.

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