Thursday 19 October 2017

Serena and Venus on French collision course

Serena Williams hits a return to Alize Lim, during their women's singles match at the French Open at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris
Serena Williams hits a return to Alize Lim, during their women's singles match at the French Open at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris

Defending champion Serena Williams overcame nerves to defeat friend Alize Lim and stay on course for a third-round tussle with sister Venus at the French Open.

While the 6-2 6-1 scoreline looked like a walk in the park for Serena, her 36 unforced errors showed she was not at her best. The American needed five match points to get over the line.

Serena said: "It was interesting. I was a little nervous, like I always am in my first round. It's always hard for me to shake those nerves and go from there."

Next Serena will play Spaniard Garbine Muguruza then after that a clash against Venus beckons. The 33-year-old had a tough draw against Swiss Belinda Bencic.

The 17-year-old has made rapid strides in the senior game and is already ranked in the top 100. Bencic matched Venus for the whole first set but the veteran's extra power eventually told and she ran away with the second to win 6-4 6-1, her first victory at Roland Garros for two years.

Venus next meets another teenager in Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

Should the sisters play each other, it would be their earliest ever meeting outside of the round-robin Tour Championships.

Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska had the honour of being the first winner at this year's tournament with a 6-3 6-0 victory over Zhang Shuai of China.

Eighth seed Angelique Kerber, 14th seed Carla Suarez Navarro and Daniela Hantuchova are also through.

Today, 2012 champion Maria Sharapova begins her campaign against Ksenia Pervak in the opening match on Court Philippe Chatrier while Petra Kvitova and Jelena Jankovic are also in action.

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