French Open 2018: Serena Williams battles past Ashleigh Barty

Serena Williams’ Grand Slam return continued with a three-set comeback win over Australia’s 17th seed Ashleigh Barty in the French Open second round.

Williams, 36, gave birth to daughter Olympia in September and has only played a handful of matches since.

The 23-time major champion faced a tough test against Barty.

Australian Barty, 22, took the first set, but Williams’ rhythm improved as she fought back to win 3-6 6-3 6-4.

The American will meet 11th seed Julia Goerges in the last 32 after the German beat former French Open quarter-finalist Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium 7-5 7-6 (7-5).

“I lost the first set and just thought ‘you know what? I’ve got try harder’. And Serena came out,” she said. Serena survives a tougher test.

After her opening match, Williams played down her chances of winning a joint-record 24th Slam, saying she was not putting any pressure on herself to equal Margaret Court’s tally so soon into her comeback from a difficult birth.

Williams, who said she was “lucky to survive” the birth, has spoken about Olympia being the main focus in her life, but also made it clear she had not lost any of her will to win.

And it showed against Barty after it had looked initially as if the American would be exiting at the second stage – something she has not done in a Slam since the 2014 tournament at Roland Garros.

A double fault at 0-30 in the sixth game presented Barty with the first opportunity of the match, one she was gifted when Williams planted a forehand well long.

The former world number one offered little threat on the serve of the Australian, who closed out the opener in 28 minutes.





Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *