Tennis

WTA Roland Garros: Serena Williams overcomes slow start to beat Kristie Ahn

WTA Roland Garros: Serena Williams overcomes slow start to beat Kristie Ahn

The 23-time Major champion Serena Williams made a winning start at Roland Garros, beating the fellow American Kristie Ahn 7-6, 6-0 in an hour and 41 minutes. Turning 39 a couple of days ago, Serena is still eager to conquer that elusive 24th Major title, winning the previous one at the Australian Open 2017 and suffering four defeats in the finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and 2019.

Following the US Open loss in the semi-final to Victoria Azarenka, Serena is back at Majors’ winning way, earning the 66th win in Paris and the 357th at Majors overall. In New York, Williams toppled Ahn in straight sets in the opener, repeating that in Paris on Monday after a challenging opening set that lasted for 72 minutes.

As it turned out, Ahn had nothing left in the tank after that, allowing Serena to produce a bagel and open the title chase. Williams suffered two breaks and delivered five, keeping the points on her racquet with 26 winners and 36 unforced errors.

They stayed neck and neck in the mid-range and more extended exchanges, with Serena earning the victory in the shortest range thanks to her booming serve and the first groundstroke. Ahn was off to a solid start, opening a 4-2 gap and serving for the set at 5-4 before Williams bounced back to extend the set and claim in it the tie break, winning it 7-02 and never looking back.

Serena held at love in the first game with an ace, with Kristie producing a fine hold as well to level the score at 1-1. The third game turned into a marathon and Williams couldn’t bring it home, getting broken on Ahn’s sixth opportunity after a forced error.

The younger American held after deuce in the next one to confirm the advantage and at 15 in game six with a service winner for a 4-2 lead. Serena converted the sixth break chance in the eighth game to level the score at 4-4, only to suffer a break at love after a loose forehand that sent Kristie 5-4 ahead.

Serena Williams secured the 66th Roland Garros victory.

Serving for the set, Ahn couldn’t hold her nerves, landing a forehand long to get broken at 15 and keep Serena in the set. The more experienced player had the momentum on her side, claiming the tie break 7-2 following a service winner and never looking back from there.

Williams took charge in set number two, earning breaks in games one, three and five and serving for the victory at 5-0. Serving for the win, Williams seized the fifth match point after an ace, sealing the deal and moving into the second round where she plays against Tsvetlana Pironkova in another US Open rematch.

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