On a day of no seeded upsets, Serena Williams was the story of the French Open on Tuesday, donning a black bodysuit to defeat Kristyna Pliskova 7-6(4), 6-4 to advance to the second round at Roland Garros.
“I feel like I’m on the right track,” Serena told media. “I have been putting a lot of work in on the court, off the court, on the court, on the court, off the court, that’s kind of been my life. I have been really enjoying it. I think I’m serving pretty good, better than a few months ago. I definitely feel like I can still improve on that a great deal, like, my speed on my serve isn’t as fast as I normally hit it, but also I didn’t really try to hit it that much. I was going more for placement.”
Serena said her black catsuit was “Wakanda-inspired.”
“I’m always living in a fantasy world,” she told reporters after the match. “I always wanted to be a superhero and it’s kind of my way of being a superhero…It feels like this suit represents all the women that have been through a lot mentally, physically, with their body to come back and have confidence and to believe in themselves,” she said. “I definitely feel like it is an opportunity for me to inspire a whole different group of amazing women and kids.”
Serena will next meet No. 17 seed Ashleigh Barty, who was a 6-3, 5-1 winner over Natalia Vikhlyantseva.
Top 10-seeded players in action easily advanced Tuesday as No. 3 Garbine Muguruza handled Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6(0), 6-2, and No. 7 Caroline Garcia rolled Yingying Duan 6-1, 6-0.
“There is no surprise I was a bit tense,” said the Frenchwoman Garcia, who double-faulted and was broken in the first game. “A lot of frame, a lot of faults on my forehand… I couldn’t feel the ball. It’s true that in Roland Garros sometimes we are under more pressure than in another Grand Slam. Since this morning I have been a bit tense, but not extra tense.”
Lower-seeded winners were No. 11 Julia Goerges outlasting Dominika Cibulkova 6-0 in the third, No. 12 Angie Kerber, No. 16 Elise Mertens beating Varvara Lepchenko 6-0 in the third, No. 18 Kiki Bertens, No. 24 Daria Gavrilova beating Sorana Cirstea from a set down, No. 27 Shuai Zhang, No. 28 Maria Sharapova struggling past qualifier Richel Hogenkamp in three, and No. 30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
“I love the challenge of being in a Grand Slam draw and figuring out a way to win,” said Sharapova, who trailed 0-3 in the third set. “You’ve just got to find a way how to handle your emotions and how you handle the matches physically. I thrive on that. I enjoy that challenge, trying to see how I can bring that out of me, how I can keep my concentration, my focus throughout, using my experience, as well.”
Wednesday at Roland Garros highlights include (1) Simona Halep vs. Alison Riske, (2) Caroline Wozniacki vs. Georgina Garcia Perez, and (14) Daria Kasatkina vs. Kirsten Flipkens.
You Might Like:
Serena Williams Isn’t Fussed That The French Open Has Banned Catsuits
Rafael Nadal Just Got Waxed At Madame Tussauds [Video]
By The Numbers: Rafael Nadal Wins The 2014 French Open
French Open Women’s Final Open Thread: Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova
Serena, Azarenka Bring the Power: US Open Semis Previews