Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts during her first round match against Kristie Ahn of the U.S.

‘A runaway train’: Serena Williams wins opener in Paris

Serena Williams went from a 72-minute battle of a primary set that required a tiebreaker to resolve in her first-round match on the French Open to a lopsided second set through which she didn’t drop a sport.

“I just need to play with more confidence,” Williams mentioned, by means of clarification for the way her 7-6 (2), 6-Zero victory over 102nd-ranked Kristie Ahn unfolded Monday, “like I’m Serena.”

Well, sure, she was extra herself for the latter half of the competition, which by the top actually wasn’t a lot of a contest.

And that is how Ahn described the feeling of being throughout the web from that model of Williams, the one the place she is at her perfect.

“It feels like you’re trying to push a runaway train in the opposite direction,” Ahn mentioned. “It’s very difficult to try and stop, to stop her momentum when she’s going, when she’s feeling it.”

Imagine Ahn’s (unhealthy) luck of the draw: She is the primary participant to face Williams within the first spherical at two consecutive Grand Slam tournaments, having additionally misplaced their matchup on the U.S. Open.

“I mean, I laughed,” Ahn mentioned. “I mean, what are the odds?”

They have been adopted onto Court Philippe Chartier by 12-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal.

The man Nadal beat within the final two finals, Dominic Thiem, received his first match since successful the U.S. Open, advancing to the second spherical with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-Three victory over 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic.

This, too, was a latest rematch from New York.

Thiem will subsequent face American qualifier Jack Sock, who beat Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4, 6-Three and was considered one of six males from the U.S. to get to the second spherical; just one did a yr in the past in Paris.

Among the important thing outcomes on Day 2 of a cold, pandemic-postponed French Open have been losses by 2019 runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, who was crushed 6-1, 6-2 by Polish teengarr Iga Swiatek; 2017 U.S. Open finalist and 2018 French Open semifinalist Madison Keys; and males’s seeds No. 14 Fabio Fognini and No. 19 Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Williams now will get one other rematch, going through Tsvetana Pironkova, the participant the 39-year-old American beat within the quarterfinals in New York earlier this month.

“It’s always exciting to face her,” Pironkova mentioned.

Williams has received three of her professional-era document 23 Grand Slam singles titles in Paris; add another and she or he’ll equal Margaret Court’s all-era mark.

She retains coming shut: Williams has made it to the ultimate at 4 of the previous eight main tournaments, dropping every time. At the U.S. Open, she exited within the semifinals in opposition to Victoria Azarenka, slowed a bit down the stretch after hurting her left Achilles tendon.

Williams wore a strip of black athletic tape on the decrease portion of that leg Monday. Asked after the match what she’s completed to handle herself, she replied: “A ton of prayer.”