Serena Williams survives scare in French Open | Daily News

Serena Williams survives scare in French Open

Serena Williams in action
Serena Williams in action

American Serena Williams survived a scare in the first ever night session match at the French Open as she edged out Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 7-6 (6), 6-2 in the first round on Monday.

Organisers have introduced night matches under the Philippe Chatrier Court lights this year to provide some late drama for the fans but the match was played in an empty stadium because of a COVID-19 curfew in the French capital.

The flat atmosphere hardly helped the 39-year-old Williams who squandered a 5-2 lead in the first set against a tricky opponent who battled back to move into a tie-breaker. Begu then led 6-4 and Williams got lucky with a return that clipped the tape before rattling off four points to win the opener with a drive volley.

Three-time Roland Garros champion Williams, who has been stuck on 23 Grand Slam titles, one behind Margaret Court's all-time record, was far more assured in the second set and managed to claim the victory without further fuss. Williams has been agonisingly close to matching Court's record since winning the 2017 Australian Open in her last Grand Slam event before becoming a mother. (Agencies)