Serena Williams digs deep

PARIS, September 28

Sixth seed Serena Williams battled sluggish conditions to defeat fellow American Kristie Ahn 7-6(2) 6-0 to open her campaign at the French Open today. Playing against an opponent she defeated at the same stage at the US Open less than a month ago, Williams found herself trailing twice in the opening set but rallied each time to force a tiebreaker. The 39-year-old, who has won three French Open titles, raised her level in the tiebreaker and did not look back from there, handing the 102nd-ranked Ahn a bagel in the second set.

Nadal sails through

Claycourt master Rafael Nadal started his quest for a record-extending 13th French Open title with a straightforward 6-4 6-4 6-2 first-round win against Belarusian Egor Gerasimov.

No US hangover for Thiem

The first match after a major career breakthrough is always a potential banana skin but Dominic Thiem avoided any slip-up with an impressive defeat of Marin Cilic. It was perhaps closer than the 6-4 6-3 6-3 scoreline suggested but Austrian third seed Thiem sent out a clear message that having won the US Open he is hungry for more. — Reuters

Other results

Women’s singles

Elina Svitolina bt Varvara Gracheva 7-6(2) 6-4; Kiki Bertens bt Katarina Zavatska 2-6 6-2 6-0; Petra Kvitova bt Oceane Dodin 6-3 7-5; Iga Swiatek bt Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-2

Men’s singles

Mikhail Kukushkin bt Fabio Fognini 7-5 3-6 7-6(1) 6-0; Yoshihito Nishioka bt Felix Auger Aliassime 7-5 6-3 6-3

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