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PARIS: Her superior serve is back to its best, Serena Williams was in total control of her Roland Garros game – until suddenly that shot wasn’t so dominant and neither was she.
And then, pushed to a third set by an opponent offering all kinds of turns, speeds and angles, Williams regained her form and forged to the end.
Williams returned to the third round at Roland Garros, where she won three of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles, moving away to beat 174th Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 on Wednesday on the short Philippe Chatrier. .
His serve, especially at the start, was much better than when he won in the first round. During that Monday, she only put 51% of the first serves on the line and broke three times in 10 games.
“I practiced my service a lot. I played, in practice, incredible on my serve. The other night it was “Wooooow,” she said, rolling her eyes. “I’m glad it went better today. My coach told me that it was good that I did it well in training, because in the end it will be good in the game.
It was safe, especially at the start against Buzarnescu, who failed to put any serves on the line in the first game.
By the end of the first set, Williams had won 20 of the 23 points she had served.
In the second set, things changed.
Buzarnescu took the measure of these powerful offerings and managed to get back to the heart of the matter, breaking twice in a row.
“He’s one of the best servers in the world. It is not easy to read his service. Being my first time playing against her, it took me a while to adjust my position on the pitch on the return, “said Buzarnescu, who called it” a dream “to be able to face Williams.” I’m just happy. to have been able to understand it, I hope that next time I can do it sooner.
After a bit of a reset, Williams came back in the right direction.
“I knew that going into the third one I just had to focus on those important points,” she said. “If I could just take them, it would be easier for me. “
Last year, Williams retired before the second round in Paris due to an injury to his left Achilles. No such problems so far this time around, and the 39-year-old American has covered the field well, even though she had duct tape on her right thigh.
The next clash for the No. 7 seed Williams is an all-American clash against Danielle Collins, who crushed Anhelina Kalinina 6-0, 6-2.
The afternoon at Roland Garros was strong for the United States, with victories in the women’s draw for Madison Keys no.23 and in the men’s for John Isner no.31, Reilly Opelka no.32. and unranked players Stevie Johnson and Marco Giron.
It’s the first time that four Americans have qualified for the third round at Roland Garros since a half-dozen arrived there in 1996 – and Taylor Fritz is yet to play his second game on Thursday.
Medvedev defeats Tommy Paul
Another American, Tommy Paul, got off to a good start against No.2 Daniil Medvedev, two-time Grand Slam runner-up, in the night session on Wednesday. But Medvedev, who was 0-4 for his career at Roland Garros until this week, returned to eliminate Paul 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.
Medvedev will face Opelka for a spot in week 2.
Earlier today, down 4-1 in the third set, 2020 US Open finalist Alexander Zverev decided it was time to cut his game short.
He was determined to avoid another long fight after a five sets in the first round, so he put pressure on qualifier Roman Safiullin. The sixth-seeded German won the next game out of love, retaliated by pushing his rival in unforced errors and was nearly flawless in the tiebreaker.
The payoff was a 7-6 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (1) win to advance to the third round.
“I’m happy to have finished in three sets,” Zverev said. “I think it’s going to be important for me during this tournament.”
Zverev, facing a rival he has known since they were juniors, lost his serve three times on Suzanne Lenglen court and had 10 double faults. But a 25-hit rally in the final tiebreaker embodied Zverev’s attitude.
At first on the defensive, Zverev turned around and won the point with a passing shot.
Other contenders for the third round include qualifier Henri Laaksonen, who knocked out 53 winners to topple 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, and Kei Nishikori, the 2014 US Open finalist, who was increased to five sets for the second straight game before defeating heavy hitter Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Khachanov, the 23rd seed, was treated by a coach in the fifth set after cutting his right middle finger while hitting the strings of his racquet angrily.
Nishikori took his five-set record to 26-7.