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Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova win in French Open

30 May, 2018, 12:58 | Author: Carla Brady
  • French Open: Ash Barty set to clash with Serena Williams in second round

The 36-year-old hasn't played in a major tennis tournament since winning the Australian Open in January 2017 - while pregnant with daughter Alexis Ohanian Jr.

Williams, the 2002, 2013 and 2015 champion in Paris, was on Tuesday playing a claycourt match for the first time since she finished runner-up to Garbine Muguruza in the 2016 final in Paris.

The temperature hit 25C in Paris but it did not seem to affect the 23-time major victor in her first Grand Slam match since giving birth last September.

¶ The two-time Grand Slam victor Garbiñe Muguruza is back to winning ways at the French Open after beating Svetlana Kuznetsova, another former Roland Garros champion.

In the second set, the Chinese won just 10 points, and six came thanks to her opponent's unforced errors.

Williams then trailed 0/3 before eventually taking the set when Pliskova, who had never won a match at the tournament in three previous visits, put a forehand wide. The return game that produced three consecutive breaks of serve.

Serena struggled to read the Czech's big serve in the opening exchanges, but Pliskova lacked variety and efficiency in return as Serena lost just a single point on her first deliveries in the opening set.

Williams is now tied, 2-2, in the first set.

Behind the jokes, there is also a more serious reason for the choice of skin-tight bodysuit outfit for the American who only had her daughter last September.

"I'm always living in a fantasy world", she added.




A reporter wanted to know whether Williams believes she can win the title again.

"I had a lot of problems with those - I don't know how many I have had in the past 12 months", she said.

"Well, first and foremost, you have to get your core back, which is hard, because it literally spreads when you have a baby".

"I want to get home and see Olympia, because I have been here all day", Williams said.

She played deliberately, showing little emotion early on other than an occasional sigh and double take at the net when it foiled her intentions.

"Two years has been a really long time", she told the crowd in French, referring to her last match on clay.

So a woman who has spent hundreds of weeks ranked No. 1 is now No. 451 and unseeded at the French Open, a subject of some debate: Should her past success accord her the protection a seeding offers? "But I think money goes to charity, so donate!"

But as the match wore on, and rust fell from the American's game, she single-mindedly imposed her will.

Beginning his bid for a record-extending 11th championship at Roland Garros, Nadal needed to erase four set points to close things out Tuesday.

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