French Open: Error-prone Serena Williams survives Ahn scare

Updated: 29 September, 2020 09:22 IST | AFP | Paris

Serena, playing at the French Open for the 18th time, dropped serve twice as Ahn moved 5-4 ahead in the opener in a rematch of their first-round encounter at Flushing Meadows

Serena Williams during her first-round win over Kristie Ahn in Paris yesterday. Pics/AFP
Serena Williams during her first-round win over Kristie Ahn in Paris yesterday. Pics/AFP

Serena Williams made a slow but successful start on Monday to her latest pursuit of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title at Roland Garros. The American star is chasing an elusive 24th Grand Slam title to match Margaret Court's all-time mark, but clay is her least favoured surface.

An error-prone beginning from Serena left World No. 102 Kristie Ahn serving for the first set before the three-time Roland Garros champion prevailed 7-6, 6-0.

American Kristie Ahn
American Kristie Ahn

Patchy play

Serena, playing at the French Open for the 18th time, dropped serve twice as Ahn moved 5-4 ahead in the opener in a rematch of their first-round encounter at Flushing Meadows. But the sixth seed forced a tie-break that she sealed with an ace after a 74-minute slog before charging to an ultimately comfortable victory.

"She played very well in the first set, it wasn't easy for me and she hit a lot of winners," said Serena. "It was important for me to stay focused." Serena, seeded sixth here, has not gone beyond the Last 16 in Paris since her defeat to Garbine Muguruza in the 2016 final. Her last major came at the 2017 Australian Open.

Kvitova advances

Meanwhile, Petra Kvitova defeated Oceane Dodin 6-3, 7-5. Dutch fifth seed Kiki Bertens recovered from a poor start once conditions improved to overhaul 112th-ranked Ukrainian Katarina Zavatska 2-6, 6-2, 6-0. Third seed Elina Svitolina scrapped past Varvara Gracheva of Russia 7-6, 6-4 while last year's runner-up Marketa Vondrousova was bundled out 6-1, 6-2 by Iga Swiatek.

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First Published: 29 September, 2020 07:50 IST

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