French Open: Serena Williams victorious on Roland Garros return | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 29.05.2018
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French Open: Serena Williams victorious on Roland Garros return

There were no major surprises on the third day of the French Open, but Serena Williams made a winning return to the clay. The American was playing her first French Open match since returning from giving birth.

Serena Williams made a victorious return to the French Open with a typically dominant performance against Krystna Pliskova.

Williams hasn't played on clay since 2016 following her pregnancy and birth of her daughter, but served 13 aces on her way towards a 7-6 6-4 win at Roland Garros.

Williams, the winner of an Open era record 23 Grand Slam titles, had arrived in Paris with just four matches under her belt in 2018, the last of which was in Miami in March.

But she gave a stinging response to the doubters on Tuesday even if her win over the 70th-ranked Pliskova tested the American.

"I missed Roland Garros so much, I missed the battle," said Williams, the 2002, 2013 and 2015 champion. "It's been two years since I played here. It wasn't easy but I have been training really hard. I feel good and just so happy to be back here."

Good day for the Germans

Two-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber got off to a winning start in Paris with victory over fellow German Mona Barthel in two easy sets.

Number 12 seed Kerber, who has never gone beyond the quarterfinals in Paris, was rarely tested by world number 65 Barthel as she strolled to victory.

Frankreich, Paris: French Open, Tag 3: Angelique Kerber (Getty Images/M. Stockman)

Angelique Kerber strolled to victory against compatriot Mona Barthel.

Julia Görges had things a little harder against Dominika Cibulkova, who forced a deciding set after the German had taken the opener. But Görges overpowered her Slovakian opponent in the decider to win 6-4, 5-7, 6-0.

In another all-German affair, Mischa Zverev made light work of Florian Mayer, winning 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 to book his place in the next round.

Sharapova survives scare

Another former champion, Maria Sharapova, said she "loves the challenge" of playing Grand Slam tennis, after surviving a serious scare to claim a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp in her first French Open match since 2015 on Tuesday.

The Russian was refused a wildcard by organisers for the tournament last year, which took place shortly after her return from a 15-month doping suspension.

Sharapova, the 28th seed, will face Croatia's Donna Vekic in the second round.

"There are a lot of ups and downs, a lot of different feelings. You've just got to find a way how to handle your emotions and how you handle the matches physically.

"I thrive on that. I enjoy that challenge, trying to see how I can bring that out of me."

Nadal completes job, Del Potro through

World number one and title favorite Rafael Nadal had been two sets up but 0-3 down in the third to Bolelli when rain caused the tie to be suspended late Monday.

He quickly levelled at 3-3 on Tuesday, saved four break points in the eighth game before saving four set points in the breaker.

Frankreich, Paris: French Open, Tag 3: Rafael Nadal (Getty Images/C. Simon)

Nadal's match was postponed because of rain on Monday but he returned on Tuesday to see off Simone Bolelli.

The top seed eventually claimed victory on a third match point when Bolelli dumped a forehand into the net, completing a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 victory.

Nadal, bidding for an 11th title in Paris and his 17th major, next faces Argentina's Guido Pella for a place in the last 32.

Juan Martin del Potro, semifinalist in Paris in 2009, recovered from going a set down to home favorite Nicolas Mahut to power his way to a 1-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory.

mds (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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