Seventh seed Serena Williams prevailed over fellow American Danielle Collins to reach the fourth round of the French Open on Friday. Serena, who is the highest-ranked player left in the bottom half of the draw, might have won the match in straight sets, but had to work extremely hard for the result. Serena, who reached the fourth round of Roland Garros for the first time in three years, overcame a second-set deficit to beat Collins 6-4, 6-4.
Earlier, No.3 seed Aryna Sabalenka was stunned by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. But, Serena made sure to prevent another top ten seed from exiting the tournament early on. After a neck-to-neck first set went her way, the 23-time Grand Slam champion found herself in a difficult situation in the second.
Trailing 6-4, 1-0 with Williams serving, Collins fought back impressively to win four straight games to take command of the second set. Just when she was poised to stretch the match into a third set, Serena came back into the thick of things once again to storm her way to victory.
Overall, Williams managed 22 winners to 20 errors, including five aces. Serena will next face No.21 seed Elena Rybakina, who booked a spot in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Elena Vesnina.
After the match, Rybakina revealed that she has been suffering from health problems this year. “I was unlucky being in this hard lockdown in Australia which completely changed everything, I can say, because I lost this time preparation and everything,” she said. “After, I had some issues with the health. Was not easy at all, but finally now I’m feeling much better.
“Also, before this tournament I didn’t play three weeks. I rested a bit and I practiced, so I think it was a good decision. It was just not easy for me even get good practices, because I didn’t feel well. So it was difficult to practice to manage all the things.”
Rybakina also seemed excited to play Serena in the next round. “Of course, I would like to play with Serena,” Rybakina said. “The legend of the sport. Of course I want to be with her on the court, to feel this power and everything. I was watching her matches when I was growing up, and it will be nice to play with Serena. Why not?”