Serena Williams beats Begu to reach French Open second round
Three-time champion Serena Williams defeated Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets to reach the second round of the 2021 French Open.
The seventh seed prevailed 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 against the world No. 74 in the opening round.
“It wasn’t easy in that first set. I was up and I felt like I had some opportunities and she played really well,” the American said in an on-court interview.
“She’s a really good player, she has so many good wins. So, I’m happy I was able to pull that first set and eventually the match.”
Williams edged a roller-coaster of a first set after coming back from 6-4 down and saving two set points in the tiebreak.
She had led 5-2, but failed to serve the set out and was broken again, before breaking Begu back when the Romanian served for the set at 6-5.
The 39-year-old then broke in the opening game of the second set and – after a lengthy hold for 4-2 – secured a second break for 5-2 and held for victory.
The world No. 8 – a Roland Garros winner in 2002, 2013 and 2015 – had won the pair’s only previous encounter in the 2016 Rome semi-finals.
Williams will play world No. 174 Mihaela Buzarnescu – another Romanian – in the second round in Paris. She is looking to win a 24th major title to tie record holder Margaret Court.