Fri | Oct 20, 2017

Good day for Serena

Published:Wednesday | May 25, 2016 | 12:00 AM

PARIS, France (AP):

Even before Serena Williams quickly and easily seized control of her first-round match yesterday, things were shaping up rather well for her at the French Open.

Williams' bid for her 22nd Grand Slam title, which would equal Steffi Graf's Open-era record, began with a nothing-to-see-here 6-2, 6-0 victory over 77th-ranked Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia in all of 42 minutes.

Not that she wished that it had been more of a workout.

"It was a little short for me, but I think in my career, if I don't have it by now, I need to look into something different. So I'm OK I'm OK with that," said the top-seeded Williams, who took the last 10 games after a so-so start.

What happened earlier on Day Three was more surprising - and perhaps just as significant for the defending champion: Two of the top-five seeded women exited the clay-court tournament.

No. 3 Angelique Kerber, who upset Williams in the Australian Open final in January, lost to 58th-ranked Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. And No. 5 Victoria Azarenka, one of the only other two women who defeated Williams this season, bowed out in the first round, too, stopping because of an injured right knee while trailing 4-0 in the third set against 118th-ranked Karen Knapp of Italy.

 

KNEE PROBLEMS

 

Williams could have faced Azarenka in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros and Kerber in the semi-finals.

But Azarenka's knee buckled in the sixth game of the second set, and she started grimacing and limping. After the first point of the next game, she went to the sideline and requested medical attention, which Karin Knapp didn't think was fair.

"I don't want to say anything bad about her," Knapp said, "but we all know how she is."

Serena's older sister, No. 9 seeded Venus, spent a lot more time on court, needing nearly two hours to get past 82nd-ranked Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).

The top-seeded man, Novak Djokovic, was not tested at all, defeating 95th-ranked Yen-hsun Lu 6-4, 6-1, 6-1, while Rafael Nadal was ease in a 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 victory over 100th-ranked Sam Groth.

No. 2 Andy Murray was never that at peace during his struggle of a match, which was suspended because of darkness Monday night in the fourth set, against 37-year-old Radek Stepanek.

In the end, though, Murray eked out a 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 win.

He'll be scheduled to play for a third consecutive day today.