Serena Williams downs Ashleigh Barty to continue grand slam comeback

Ruben Holloway
June 1, 2018

Williams, the victor of an Open era record 23 Grand Slam titles, had arrived at Roland Garros with just four matches under her belt in 2018.

A marvel on the tennis court, new mum Serena Williams is now sporting her own superhero outfit as she makes her return to grand slam tennis.

Barty took the first set 6-3 with typically combative, speedy play and Williams had it all to do to turn the match around.

Williams, who is chasing her 24th Grand Slam title, returned to tennis earlier this year after giving birth to her daughter, Olympia.

But when Serena slammed a crosscourt forehand victor into an open court to break back in the next game, the roar that rocked Philippe Chatrier Court told the world she was not done yet.

"This is my first Grand Slam back and I want to the best that I can". She lost her number-ine ranking for going on maternity leave, after all.

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"Nothing against Serena's outfit, looks pretty cool actually", she tweeted.

Now, having beaten two fellow Czechs in the first two rounds - Barbora Krejcikova in the first, 7-6 (6), 6-4, then Lucie Safarova, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 - she is preparing to take on the Russian.

"We designed it way before the movie", she said, "but still, it kind of reminds me of that".

So it proved just over an hour later as Serena was roaring again and holding her arms aloft in triumph after setting up a third round showdown with Germany's 11th seed Julia Goerges.

"I love Serena. All the superlatives and lovely words that you can think of she deserves it". It is a significant win - her first over a Top 20 player since her return.

The 23-time grand slam victor revealed the outfit was as much about functionality as style.

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Ashleigh Barty is stewing over what might have been after her courageous bid to cut short Serena Williams' grand slam comeback ended in a tense three-set French Open defeat.

A fifth ace of the contest won her the set.

Williams referred to her biceps as her "weapon and machine" and is now flexing them at the French Open.

"I feel like a warrior wearing it, a queen from Wakanda [a reference to the Black Panther movie] maybe", she said. Krystina Pliskova is a tough opponent who hits the ball hard, and it showed a good test for Serena's strength.

"I feel like I wasn't really doing too much wrong", Barty said.

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