French Open: Serena pleased with 'pretty good' serve against Buzarnescu

By Sports Desk June 02, 2021

Serena Williams said her serve was the key to battling past Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3 5-7 6-1 in the second round of the French Open on Wednesday.

The win improved Williams' second-round record in grand slams to 74-2, her only defeats at this stage having come against sister Venus Williams when Serena made her major debut at the 1998 Australian Open, and against Garbine Muguruza seven years ago at Roland Garros in Paris.

Serena Williams won 75 per cent of the points played behind her first serve and saved five of the seven break points she faced in the French capital midweek.

"I felt it was pretty good today," Williams said of her serve. "But I've been practicing my serve a lot. I've been playing unbelievable on my serve in practice. The other night was, 'wow'. I'm glad it came better today.

"My coach told me it's good that I'm doing it well in practice because eventually it will be good in the match.

"I had some really good chances in the second set to win that. If I would have won just one point here or there, like four or five times, it would have been a different second set.

"I know going into the third I just had zero in on those one important points. If I could just take those, it would be an easier time for me."

The 39-year-old will continue her quest for a fourth Roland Garros title and record-equalling 24th slam crown against compatriot Danielle Collins, who beat Ukrainian qualifier Anhelina Kalinina 6-0 6-2.

"She's been playing well," Williams added. "She's also a really awesome person off the court. I love seeing her in the locker room.

"Ideally, it would be great if we didn't have to play each other because I always want her to do super well."

BENCIC DUMPED OUT BY KASATKINA

Belinda Bencic – the 10th seed – was dumped out by Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-2, meaning there are no top-20 players left in the bottom quarter of the draw.

Bencic joined world number two Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu and Kiki Bertens in departing the tournament after a dismal performance against Kasatkina, who will play in the third round of a major for the first time since Wimbledon in 2018.

Kasatkina's serve was in rude health, with the Russian and 2018 French Open quarter-finalist never facing a break point and racking up eight aces.

"A lot has changed between 2018 and now," said Kasatkina. "There was one amazing year for me, which was important in a good and in the bad way.

"I learned a lot, and I think I became a little bit different, maybe more experienced, a bit more serious. Let's say I understand more why I'm winning or why I'm losing.

"At that time everything was just going with the wave, and I was not thinking that much. Now I'm analysing more of what's going on in the situation I'm in. Getting maybe a bit more mature."

The only player left in that quarter who has previously reached a grand slam semi-final is 20th seed Marketa Vondrousova, who breezed past Harmony Tan 6-1 6-3. 

SABALENKA SEES OFF COMPATRIOT SASNOVICH

Third seed Aryna Sabalenka booked her spot in the third round with a 7-5 6-3 win over fellow Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich, despite tallying 34 unforced errors.

Sabalenka, who has the second-most tour-level wins this season with 27, said: "I'm really proud of myself that I was fighting no matter what, kind of trying to find my rhythm. I'm really happy with this win. It was a tough battle.

"I would say I definitely feel better this year, kind of believe that I can do well here on the clay court. I feel better and really happy to be here, to compete here."

Sabalenka will now face 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the next round after the Russian defeated Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2 6-3. 

There were also wins for two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka, who overcame Clara Tauson 7-5 6-4, and Madison Keys, who beat Leylah Annie Fernandez 6-1 7-5.

Related items

  • Lamar Jackson wins Harbaugh backing for 'pushing aside' four interceptions Lamar Jackson wins Harbaugh backing for 'pushing aside' four interceptions

    Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh praised Lamar Jackson for his response to the shock of throwing four interceptions against the Cleveland Browns.

    Former MVP Jackson became the fourth quarterback in the past 25 seasons to throw four interceptions targeting a single player – in this case, Mark Andrews – in a game after Eli Manning-Hakeem Nicks, Luke McCown-Mike Thomas and Mark Sanchez-Braylon Edwards.

    He was also sacked twice on Sunday as he finished with 20-of-32 passing for 165 yards.

    However, Jackson's throw for Andrews' touchdown gave the Ravens a 13-3 advantage and they saw out a 16-10 victory to go top of the AFC standings.

    The win also ended a run of 41 consecutive games in which a quarterback to throw four interceptions lost the game. The last man to win after such a performance was Andy Dalton for the Cincinnati Bengals against the Ravens in 2013.

    The Ravens became the only team in the Super Bowl era to score fewer than 17 points, have fewer than 325 yards in total and throw at least four more interceptions than their opponents and still win the game.

    Harbaugh was full of admiration for the way Jackson did not allow himself to be overawed by his mistakes.

    "Nobody gets flustered, and it starts with Lamar," he said. "Lamar wants those plays back and he's a massive competitor. Yet he doesn't let it take control of him. He's able to push it aside and he's able to go play the next series and give you great football.

    "It's really a rare trait. To me, that's one of the things that makes him the quarterback that he is."

    Jackson himself said: "I feel like those drives, when the interceptions came, we could've done something on those drives. We could've put points on the board.

    "I just told my team, 'That's me. I owe y'all.'

    "I mean, it's one game that it happened. They just made great plays on those interceptions. It wasn't like I was throwing it right to them."

    The 8-3 Ravens are at the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday.

     

  • Man Utd's Bailly: Players told about incoming manager amid Rangnick speculation Man Utd's Bailly: Players told about incoming manager amid Rangnick speculation

    Manchester United defender Eric Bailly said the players have been told about the arrival of a new manager amid mounting speculation regarding Ralf Rangnick.

    United are reportedly set to appoint former RB Leipzig boss Rangnick on an interim basis until the end of the season.

    Rangnick, currently working as head of sports and development at Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow, is the man United are targeting to lead them through until the end of the season, which is when they intend to make a more permanent appointment – Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino and Ajax's Erik ten Hag have been heavily linked.

    Michael Carrick continued in his caretaker role for Sunday's 1-1 draw at Premier League leaders Chelsea, though Bailly lifted the lid on matters at Old Trafford.

    "We were told in the dressing room that a new manager was coming," Bailly told RMC Sport.

    "We are working hard for now with Carrick and then we will see."

    Jadon Sancho's opener against the run of play was cancelled out by Jorginho's penalty at Stamford Bridge, where Carrick named Red Devils superstar Cristiano Ronaldo among the substitutes.

    During the month of November so far, United (17) have mustered the fewest number of shots of all Premier League sides, whilst also facing more attempts than any team (60).

    United managed just one further attempt after taking the lead at Chelsea, with their total of three shots their lowest in a Premier League game since April 2017 against Manchester City (also 3).

    Meanwhile, Carrick became the first Englishman to take charge of United in a league game since Ron Atkinson in back November 1986 (1-1 against Coventry).

  • Curry's 33 points lead Warriors to eighth straight win, LeBron's Lakers claim grudge game Curry's 33 points lead Warriors to eighth straight win, LeBron's Lakers claim grudge game

    The Golden State Warriors continue to set the pace in the NBA after Stephen Curry fuelled the league-leading franchise to a 105-90 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

    Curry put up a game-high 33 points and the red-hot Warriors celebrated their eighth consecutive victory on Sunday.

    The two-time MVP also had six assists, six steals and five rebounds as the Warriors improved to 18-2 this season.

    Golden State had 19 steals in total at Staples Center, where Paul George (30 points) and the Clippers shot just 40 per cent from the field.

    The Warriors have held their opponents to under 50 per cent shooting in all 20 games this season – Golden State have the best defensive rating and opponent field goal percentage in 2021-22.

     

    Lakers win grudge match

    The Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the lowly Detroit Pistons 110-106 as the two teams renewed hostilities for the first time since LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart were ejected following a melee. James had struck Stewart in the face – drawing blood, sparking wild scenes as the Pistons big man repeatedly charged at the Lakers superstar on November 21. On Sunday, James scored 33 points and tallied nine assists to help the Lakers. Anthony Davis (24 points and 10 rebounds) and Russell Westbrook (25 points and nine rebounds) also contributed in LA.

    Defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks eased past the Indiana Pacers 118-100 for their seventh successive victory. Giannis Antetokounmpo had a day out with 26 points and 13 rebounds.

     

    Tatum overshadows Celtics triumph

    The Boston Celtics left Canada with a 109-97 win against the Toronto Raptors, but it was a miserable outing for All-Star Jayson Tatum. While he had 10 assists and seven rebounds, Tatum finished with just eight points on two-of-16 shooting in a team-high 38 minutes. He also recorded four turnovers.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.