A Struggle, but Williams Clears Hurdle ; Top Seed at French Open Wins in 2nd Round, Which She Failed to Do Last Year

By Rothenberg, Ben | International New York Times, May 30, 2015 | Go to article overview

A Struggle, but Williams Clears Hurdle ; Top Seed at French Open Wins in 2nd Round, Which She Failed to Do Last Year


Rothenberg, Ben, International New York Times


Serena Williams beat 105th-ranked Anna-Lena Friedsam in three sets in the second round, a year after she was eliminated in Paris in the same round.

Serena Williams joked after her first-round victory at the French Open on Tuesday that she was simply relieved to have defended the ranking points she had earned at the tournament last year, when she crashed out in the second round.

As her second-round match began here Thursday afternoon, it looked as if Williams might not reach beyond the low bar she had set for herself. But after screaming her way through shaky play, she prevailed, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, over Anna-Lena Friedsam, an unheralded 21- year-old from Germany who is ranked 105th.

A relieved Williams said she would not dwell too much on her poor performance, drawing on the advice of her sister.

"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," she said.

Last year, Williams was blasted off the same Suzanne Lenglen Court by Garbine Muguruza, a tall, powerful Spaniard. But Friedsam pulled ahead simply by being steadier than the erratic Williams, who had 21 unforced errors in the first set alone.

In the third set, Williams pulled ahead by breaking Friedsam at love in the opening game, and after a tough hold after that, was able to cruise on her serve for the remainder of the match.

Williams will have to be much better in her third-round match against 27th-seeded Victoria Azarenka, a former No.1 who is working her way back up the rankings after missing most of last season because of an injury. …

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