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French Open: Williams works hard to win against Barty

FRENCH OPEN: Serena Williams is through to the third round

SERENA WILLIAMS came back fighting from a set down to advance to the third round of the French Open, knocking out the 17th seed Ashleigh Barty 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Williams, who has lifted the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen three times in Paris needed one hour and 46 minutes to see off the feisty Australian on Thursday evening.

Top 20 player Barty stormed ahead in the first set, using her forehand to produce winners disrupting Williams’ rhythm. Williams wearing her distinctive “Wakanda” inspired superhero outfit became angry with herself, struggling with shot range and rusty movement.

At one point, it looked like the American would be exiting at the second round.

However, Williams recovered early in the second in this enthralling encounter winning 6-3 on a packed Philippe Chatrier. The former world number one reminded the crowd of her sheer willpower and competitive spirit, roaring when hitting clean winners and fist pumping every point.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner used her serve, which is her biggest weapon to great effect in the decider, breaking the third game. And, after missing the first match point on Barty’s serve, she took a chance sending a backhand winner down the line to secure the match.

This was Williams 14th competitive match since her semi-final loss to the Czech Karolina Pliskova at the US Open in 2016.

Speaking on court after the match, a jubilant Williams said: “I lost the first set and I just though I have to try harder. I have to try harder…. and Serena came out!”

Williams next opponent is the German 11th seed Julia Goeges for a place in the third round, who completed a win a 7-5, 7-6 win over Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck.

Standing in the way of reaching the fourth round is Maria Sharapova, followed by Garbine Murguruza in the in the quarters.

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