Serena Williams extended her career- high winning streak to 26 matches by beating French wildcard entry Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-2 to reach the third round of the French Open.
The 19- year- old Garcia is ranked 114th, and in the 2011 French Open against Maria Sharapova she won the first set and led 4-1 in the second before collapsing completely, losing the next 11 games and the match. Her impressive performance inspired Andy Murray to tweet that Garcia “is going to be No. 1 in the world one day.”
But Williams proved she is for now and she certainly looked like someone intent on keeping that status.
“She is very accurate in her shots,” Garcia said, “despite the fact that they’re very hard.”
Already ahead by a set and a break, thanks mainly to her ace serving and groundstrokes, Serena Williams decided to show she can caress a tennis ball too.
Catching her opponent flat- footed, Williams deftly hit a drop shot so perfectly it pretty much nestled into the red clay after clearing the net.
“I was, like. ‘Yeah!’ I only hit drop shots in practice,” Williams said. “I never hit them in a match. … It’s not a go- to shot.”
The victory over Garcia also meant Williams has improved to 69-3 since a first round loss at the French open a year ago.
When Garcia won the second point of the match on a missed forehand by Williams, someone yelled, “Allez, Caroline!” from the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd. But that was as far the French could go as Williams won the next three points with a 178km/h ace, and a 162km/h service winner. In summary, Williams hit six aces and won 32 of 39 service points.
“I came out strong,” Williams said because I knew I had to.
“It’s important for me to win easily. It’s also important for me to play well. If I play well, it will bode well for me at Roland Garros.”
Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Li Na and Petra Kvitova are the other past Grand Slam title winners hoping to join Williams in the third round with victories on Thursday.
3rd seed Azarenka defeated Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-1, 6-4 in the Belarusian’s first- round action after Tuesday rain delay. She now faces a prospect of playing seven matches in 11 days if she is to win the title.
2011 Wimbledon champion Kvitova overcame another French wildcard Aravane Rezai 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in 109 minutes at the Court Suzanne Lenglen.
2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic and last year’s runner- up Sara errani also recorded victory on Wednesday.
Former world number one, 2009 US Open finalist and Rory McIlroy’s girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki lost 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 to Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski.
No seeded men lost on Wednesday, and so far only one of the top 16 has, No. 5 Tomas Berdych.
17- time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, 4th seeded David Ferrer, 6th seeded Jo- Wilfried Tsonga, world number 10 Marin Cilic, No. 11 Nicolas Almagro, 14th seeded Milos Raonic, No. 15 Gilles Simon and No. 18 Sam Querrey all moved into the third round of the men singles in the French Open.
Chasing a second French Open title, Roger Federer showed his supremacy against Indian qualifier Somdev Devvarman, beating him 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 to seal his 56th win at Roland Garros- matching the Open Era mark set by Argentine Guillermo Villas.
The Swiss did not lose a point against the 188th- ranked Indian until game three and took the first set in just 23 minutes with two breaks of serve.
Federer broke a further three times in sets two and three to book a meeting with Julien Benneteau of France.
So far the main attraction of 2013 Roland Garros, men singles, is the unseeded Frenchman Gael Monfils, who missed much of last year tennis season with a knee injury that saw him slip out of the top 100.
Monfils struggled past Latvian Ernests Gulbis in four sets, eventually claiming the victory 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.