Thursday, May 31, 2018

Serena rallies to beat 17th seed Barty in French Open

   Motherhood hasn't diminished Serena Williams' competitiveness.
   Pumping her fists and yelling her trademark "C'mon!," Williams survived the first big test of her Grand Slam comeback today.
   The unseeded Williams topped 17th-seeded Ashleigh Barty of Australia 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of the French Open. Williams, a three-time French Open champion (2002, 2013 and 2015), trailed by an early service break in the second set.
   It was Williams' first major tournament since beating older sister Venus Williams for the 2017 Australian Open title and her first tournament on clay since losing to Garbine Muguruza in the final of the 2016 French Open.
   "I have definitely always had that will to win," Williams, who delivered her first child last Sept. 1, told reporters. "It was something I was born with, thank goodness. You know, this is a Grand Slam. This is my first one back. I want to do the best that I can. I want to be able to one day tell my daughter that I tried my best. When I was out there, that's all I was just trying to do."
   Williams, 36, is scheduled to play in Northern California for the first time in four years in the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, July 30-Aug. 5 at San Jose State. She won the old Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
   Williams, who needs one more Grand Slam singles title to tie Margaret Court's record of 24, next will play 11th-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany.
   Goerges, the doubles runner-up with Darija Jurak of Croatia at Stanford in 2013, beat Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium 7-5, 7-6 (5). Van Uytvanck swept the singles and doubles titles in the $50,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger in 2016. She played doubles with Kristyna Pliskova, the twin sister of former singles world No. 1 Karolina.
   Williams is 2-0 against Goerges, winning 6-1, 6-1 in the second round of the 2010 French Open and 6-1, 7-6 (7) in the second round at Toronto on a hard court in 2011.
   Other former French Open champions advancing today, all in straight sets, were No. 3 seed Muguruza, No. 28 Maria Sharapova (2012 and 2014) and No. 1 Rafael Nadal (2005-08, 2010-14 and 2017).
   Top-seeded Simona Halep, a two-time French Open finalist, dominated U.S. wild card Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-1.
   Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine eliminated 15th-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe, a two-time Bank of the West runner-up, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0.
   Maximilian Marterer, a 22-year-old left-hander from Germany, surprised 24th-seeded Denis Shapovalov, 19, of Canada 5-7, 7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-4. Marterer reached the 2017 semifinals and 2016 quarterfinals in the $100,000 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger.
   In the first round of women's doubles at Roland Garros, 11th-seeded Raquel Atawo of Sacramento and Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany beat Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan and Zheng Saisai of China 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

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