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French Open 2020: Serena Williams sees off Ahn again in slam opener

By Rob Lancaster
Serena Williams overcame a sluggish start to her French Open campaign with a win

Paris, September 28: Serena Williams overcame a sluggish start to her French Open campaign before easing to a 7-6 (7-2), 6-0 victory over Kristie Ahn.

Aiming to finally secure a 24th grand slam title and draw level with Margaret Court's record tally, Williams twice dropped serve in a competitive opening set that spanned 74 minutes.

Ahn had also provided solid early resistance when the two Americans met in the first round at the recent US Open, though eventually lost on that occasion in straight sets.

The world number 102 suffered a similar fate in the French capital, simply unable to cope against an opponent who moved through the gears to cruise through to round two.

Williams had appeared to warm quickly to her task despite the cool temperatures in Paris, winning her first service game to love in a hurry.

However, the sixth seed stuttered afterwards and was broken next time around, Ahn edging ahead at the sixth attempt to grab a lead she maintained through to the eighth game.

Williams levelled at 4-4 – much to her obvious delight as she yelled out when finally clinching a game that spanned 12 minutes and 42 seconds – and while broken immediately afterwards, Ahn was crucially unable to serve out for the set.

The tie-break ultimately proved a one-sided affair, the three-time champion on clay clinching it in style with an ace.

Playing in a far more aggressive manner, Williams dominated in the second to set up a clash with another familiar foe in Tsvetana Pironkova, who she beat in the last eight at Flushing Meadows.

Data slam: Williams was surprisingly tepid in her approach in the early going. Unable to assert any dominance, she committed 28 unforced errors in a first set that could quite easily have gone Ahn's way. Yet from sluggish beginnings, she grew into the match and the second was far more straightforward, aided by four aces and 11 winners.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Williams – 26/36 Ahn – 13/27

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Williams – 11/5 Ahn – 1/4

BREAK POINTS WON

Williams – 5/14 Ahn – 2/8

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Story first published: Monday, September 28, 2020, 21:10 [IST]
Other articles published on Sep 28, 2020