Serena Williams needed an extra hour to put away lefty Mihaela Buzarnescu today at the French Open in a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 win.
The Romanian fought back in the second with some entertaining shot-making. In the decider, paced by her serve, Serena was too strong in the end.
“I had some really good chances in the second set to win that if I would have won just one point here or there, like four or five times,” Serena said. “It would have been a different second set.
“I know going into the third I just had zero in on those one important points. If I could just take those, it would be an easier time for me.”
Buzarnescu was just thrilled about playing the legend.
“It was like a dream for a long time to play against her, because since I was young I was following her and her sister,” the 33-year-old Buzarnescu said. “Was always like, let’s say, like a goal to play against such a legend.
“Before my match I really, like, put this apart and said, It’s a match, so I have to play against a player as any other player and I have to focus on my game and just try my best and see the result at the end.
“I just think that I had a good match today. It’s always tough to play against a player as her with such a tough serve and very powerful shots. I was really a bit disappointed at the end of the match. I couldn’t finish some of the points that could have given me more chances in the final set.”
In the third round on Friday, Serena will meet the feisty and fiery fellow-American Danielle Collins.
“She’s been playing well,” Serena said looking ahead. “I played her in Australia actually. She plays well, especially when it’s time to play, which is I guess all the time. She’s also a really awesome person off the court.
“I love seeing her in the locker room. Ideally it would be great if we didn’t have to play each other, because I always want her to do super well.”
Serena’s fellow mom Victoria Azarenka advanced past Clara Tauson 7-5, 6-4. Paula Badosa kept rolling blowing past Danka Kovinic 6-2, 6-0. Former semifinalist Madison Keys held off Leylah Fernandez in a tough one 6-1, 7-5 and Belinda Bencic fell to Daria Kasatskina.
Aryna Sabalenka was also a winner beating Aleksandra Sasnovich 7-5, 6-3.
“I would say wasn’t great level from me today, but I’m really proud of myself that I was fighting no matter what, kind of trying to find my rhythm,” Sabalenka said. “I’m really happy with this win. It was tough battle.”
Sabalenka is still trying to reach her first career Slam quarterfinal.
Tomorrow, Ash Barty returns to test that left hip against Magda Linette. Karolina Pliskova meets former finalist Sloane Stephens and Elina Svitolina battles young American Ann Li.
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