Serena Williams powers into French Open fourth round as she aims for history

The 39-year-old defeated fellow American Danielle Collins 6-Four 6-Four on Court Philippe Chatrier, as the ladies’s draw opened up with some high-seed, early-round knockouts already.

After No. three seed Aryna Sabalenka was upset early Friday by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Williams grew to become considered one of simply 4 Top 10 seeds left within the ladies’s draw.

“That felt really good for me,” Williams stated afterwards in her post-match press convention. “Things were not going my way. It’s not like she gave me those games. I had to earn it and turn it around. That was really positive for me going into the next match.

She is aiming to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slams, but has not made it past the fourth-round at Roland Garros since 2016.

Williams, a three-time French Open champion, was tested throughout the whole encounter by her compatriot.

In a big-hitting, guns blazing first set, Collins was forced to defend break points and even a set point until eventually, Williams was able to seal the opening set with an ace.

And with an opening break in the second set, it looked like Collins might crumble.

Williams goes to hug Collins after she defeated her in their third-round match.

But, showing remarkable resolve in the face of adversity, the 27-year-old rattled off four consecutive games to race into a 4-1 lead.

Falling into that deficit seemed to wake up Williams, as she won five straight games to qualify for the fourth-round in Paris for the 13th time.

“It was a bit disappointing after being up 4-1,” Collins said afterwards. “I believe Serena performed some actually nice tennis to return again. I do not suppose I performed my finest in these moments. I simply need to attempt to study from it, hopefully do higher subsequent time and be capable to shut out the set.

“I said [after the match] I’d love to see her win the whole thing and I’d be supporting her. I think we all admire and love Serena, especially the American players. It was pretty surreal today to go out there and be playing against somebody I remember watching at age 9 and 10, playing here, to be here, to be sharing that court with her, this experience. I hope that I can be a steppingstone to her winning another slam. It would be really exciting and cool, so I’m going to be following every point.”

Williams will now face Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, the No. 21 seed, for a spot within the quarterfinals.

Williams plays a return to Collins during their third-round match.

In addition to the withdrawals of Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty, there have been some high-profile causalities which have opened up the draw for others.

Sabalenka’s defeat on Friday provides to losses from prime seeds together with Karolina Pliskova, Bianca Andreescu and Belinda Bencic.

For Williams, who has received 23 grand slams, an opportunity at equaling Court’s report may by no means be extra presentable, however she is seeking to win her first grand slam title since 2017.

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