Serena Williams defeated Irina Begu 7-6(6), 6-2 in the first round of French Open 2021. The 39-year-old American had to resist two set points during a first-set comeback by Begu as she created history in her first ever night session at the Roland Garros. Although, she finally overcame the World No. 74 in 1 hour and 42 minutes to book a place in the second round of Roland Garros 2021.
“I’m happy that I was able to save those moments. Did not want to lose that first set. I wasn’t thinking at that moment,” “Serena said in a virtual press conference after the match.
“I was just thinking to get that ball out the air because I’ve been hitting some good swing volleys in practice,” she added.
The French Open organizer have introduced night matches at the Philipe Chatrier court this year to provide some late drama for the fans. But the stadium was empty because of COVID-19 related restrictions in Paris.
The 3-time French Open winner came to the French capital with a less-than-perfect build-up. She had lost early at Rome and Parma but managed to win her first game without too much difficulty.
Begu led the first set 6-4 before Williams got lucky as her return clipped the tape, and then she won four points to win the opener with a drive Volley.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner is just one away from Margaret Court’s all-time record. The American hasn’t won a Grand Slam since the Australian Open title in 2017. She has fallen in four Grand Slam finals and earlier this year lost in the Australian Open semi-final.
After that she underwent an Oral Surgery and played only three Tour-level matches. However the seventh seed looks in good shape early signs suggest that she can go deep at Paris this time around.
“Ironically enough night sessions are not my favourite matches, but I do have a good record at it,” Williams said of her first taste of action under the Roland Garros lights.
“Clearly something about it gets me hyped. I have to say it was pretty cool to be able to play the first night session ever here at Roland Garros. That was something I thoroughly enjoyed.”
Williams will face another Romanian, 174th-ranked Mihaela Buzarnescu in the second round on Wednesday.