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'That was kind of fun,' says Serena after step closer to 24th Slam

Meanwhile Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas powers into the last 32, recording a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Spaniard Pedro Martinez.

Serena Williams in action in the French Open today.
Serena Williams in action in the French Open today.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

Updated Jun 2nd 2021, 9:00 PM

SERENA WILLIAMS EDGED a little closer to a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title with a battling three-set win over 174th-ranked Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania on Wednesday and declared: “That was kind of fun”.

The 39-year-old Williams, a three-time champion in Paris, won 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 and will face fellow American Danielle Collins for a place in the last 16.

Williams, seeded seventh, has been one short of Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 majors since winning the Australian Open in 2017.

“It was a good competition, she played well, I played well. The points were long. It was kind of fun,” said Williams who played with her right thigh heavily strapped.

“I was smiling out there which is rare for me, but it’s always good to enjoy your job.”

Buzarnescu, a former top 25 player who made the fourth round in 2018, said it had been one of her goals to face Williams before she retires.

“It was like a dream for a long time to play against her, because since I was young I was following her and her sister,” said the 33-year-old.

“It was like a goal to play against such a legend.”

france-tennis-french-open Stefanos Tsitsipas. Source: Michel Euler

Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas marched into the French Open third round on Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Spaniard Pedro Martinez.

The Greek star, who lost an epic semi-final at Roland Garros to Novak Djokovic last year, next faces big-serving American John Isner for a spot in the second week.

“I’m really happy that my tennis is there, my performance is there and that I’m able to create a really good atmosphere on this court,” said Tsitsipas.

The 22-year-old will be hoping to take advantage of being on the opposite side of the draw to Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

He has never reached a Grand Slam final, but has reached the last four in his last two major tournaments.

Tsitsipas has been in excellent form on clay this year, winning the Monte Carlo Masters, the ATP event in Lyon and reaching the Barcelona Open final, where he lost to Nadal despite holding a match point.

“I’ve had good weeks this year, I’ve had some good results but I feel like there’s always more,” he added.

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“I don’t see my performances as extra outstanding, but I’ve been consistent. We’re here at a Grand Slam and it’s a big opportunity… But of course it’s going to be a challenge.”

Tsitsipas holds a 3-2 winning record over Isner, but has prevailed in each of their last three meetings.

He served eight aces and struck 44 winners in a strong display against a stubborn opponent in world number 103 Martinez.

© – AFP, 2021

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