For the second straight year Serena Williams was put to the test in the second round of the French Open. Last year, she failed losing to Garbine Muguruza. Today, once again Serena was a set down to a youngster, but came back to beat Anna-Lena Friedsam 5-7, 6-3, 6-3.
Serena was broken in the very first game and the World No. 1 never quite was in any comfort thereafter as the 21-year-old German presser Serena all match.
“I’m probably more frustrated than relieved, but I know I’m capable of playing great tennis – just haven’t seen it yet,” Serena said. “But I don’t really want to reflect too much on it. One thing Venus always tells me: a win is a win, and as long as you live to survive the next day, you can always improve.
“I know my level is literally a hundred times better than I played today, so I take more solace in the fact I can play better, as opposed to the fact that’s the best I could play. Then I would be in trouble.”
Serena will now face rival and former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka on Saturday in the third round. Azarenka breezed to a 6-2, 6-3 win over Lucie Hradecka.
“There won’t be too many surprises for either of us. We always have tough matches,” Azarenka said. “Facing somebody who’s No.1 in the world is never easy, but I just want to focus on my game, on my energy, and try to play the best as possible. There’s no question I have to come up with my A game.”
Two former French Open champions met in the match of day as Francesca Schiavone saved a match point to deny Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7(11), 7-5, 10-8 in 3:49, the third longest women’s match in French Open history.
“I don’t know how much of it is magic, or how much of it is working and just keeping going, and believing in something that looks so far away but it’s so close,” Schiavone, the 2010 French Open winner, said. “I feel like every match for me is great history now. Doesn’t matter where I am. Doesn’t matter the score. Everything is a bonus for me now. I’m just living like this, that’s all. I’m here in the third round, and I’ll try to keep going.”
Kuznetsova served for the match in the third set three times.
While Serena escaped a German, her good friend Caroline Wozniacki didn’t. The Dane would bounced in straight sets by Julia Goerges 6-4, 7-6(4). Goerges has now beaten Wozniacki all three times they’ve met on the clay.
“There are just some players who are a tough match-up for you, no matter the rankings, and some of them are easy match-ups no matter the rankings,” Wozniacki said. “Obviously Julia has given me trouble in the past and she gave me trouble again today. So that kind of sucks. I would like to have been through to the next round, but I’m not. So I just have to move on, I suppose. There’s not much else to say.”
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova continued living on the edge, winning her second straight 3-setter. Sara Errani also took three sets as did her next opponent Andrea Petkovic. Americans Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Irina Falconi were also winners. Stephen, who also picks her game up in Slams, earned her first career win over Heather Watson in this her fifth try.
On Friday, 2-time champion Maria Sharapova meets former French finalist Sam Stosur. Ana Ivanovic takes on 18-year-old Donna Vekic and Carla Suarez Navarro tests Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta.
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