Serena Williams For The Win


Gianni Martinez, Associate Editor-in-Chief

From a 72-minute struggle in the first set to a lopsided second set where she did not lose a game, Serena Williams, a U.S. pro tennis player, wins the French Opener in Paris this weekend. “I just need to play with confidence,” Williams said as an explanation for her slow start in the match, which unfolded on Monday – “like I’m Serena.” In her 6-0 victory against 102nd-ranked Kristie Ahn, Ahn described the sensation of being across the net from that version of Williams, the one where she is at her very best.“It feels like you’re trying to push a runaway train in the opposite direction,” Ahn said. “It’s very difficult to try and stop, to stop her momentum when she’s going, when she’s feeling it.”

Serena was feeling it alright, and so was 12-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal. The man Nadal beat in the last two finals, Dominic Thiem, won his first match since winning the U.S. Open, advancing to the second round with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 victory over 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic. This too was a recent rematch from New York.

Among the key results on Day 2 of a chilly, pandemic-postponed French Open, Williams now gets another rematch, facing Tsvetana Pironkova, the player the 39-year-old American beat in the quarterfinals in New York earlier this month.“It’s always exciting to face her,” Pironkova said. Williams has now won three of her professional-era record 23 Grand Slam singles titles in Paris; add one more and she’ll equal Margaret Court’s all-era mark.

She’s getting closer and closer to her goal and made it to the final four of the past eight major tournaments, however when playing against Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals she exited with a stretch after hurting her left Achilles tendon. Wearing lots of athletic tape at her match on Monday and when asked what she did to heal she replied: “A ton of prayer.”