World No 1 endures a marathon tie-breaker to beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 7-6 (12/10) in the French Open
Paris: Defending champion Serena Williams needed five match points before downing battling French hope Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 7-6 (12/10) to reach the Last 16 at Roland Garros on Saturday.
Serena Williams celebrates her victory over France’s Kristina Mladenovic at the French Open in Paris on Saturday. Pic/AFP
The top seeded American, chasing a fourth Paris title and record-equalling Open era 22nd Grand Slam crown, goes on to face Ukraine’s 18th seed Elina Svitolina for a place in the quarter-finals.
But it was a tough afternoon for the 34-year-old Williams and her 26th-seeded opponent who needed to sit out a two and a half hour rain delay before the second set tie-break could commence.
Mladenovic even had a set point at 9/8 in the breaker but finally wilted on a fifth match point when she went wide with a forehand. “She played really, really well and forced me to bring out my best tennis,” said Williams.
>> David Ferrer bt Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 6-1
>> Elina Svitolina bt Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-4