• French Open

Under-par Williams advances in Paris

ESPN staff
May 25, 2014
Serena Williams was far from her best but got the job done against wildcard Alize Lim © Getty Images

Serena Williams began the defence of her French Open title with a 6-2 6-1 victory on Sunday over Alize Lim, a wild-card entry from France.

The top-seeded Williams dictated most points and wound up with 30 more winners - but also 24 more unforced errors - than Lim.

Third-seed Agnieszka Radwanskawon her first-round match in straight sets earlier Sunday.

Williams is a 17-time major champion who was facing a woman making her Grand Slam debut. Still, there was a bit of shakiness from the 32-year-old American as she served out the final game, erasing four break points and needing five match points to close things. Williams saved all seven break points she faced in the match.

She improved to 54-1 in first-round matches at majors. The only loss came at the 2012 French Open against 111th-ranked Virginie Razzano.

Radwanska and Zhang Shuai traded breaks in the opening seven games of their match, but the third-seed finally held and won the final nine games to become the first player to reach the second round at the French Open, winning 6-3 6-0.

"So many breaks in a row," said Radwanska, who blamed her struggles on the wet court on an overcast day at Roland Garros. "I don't know if there is really any explanation why there was eight breaks in a row, but I guess it happens sometimes."

Radwanska reached the Wimbledon final in 2012, but her best result at Roland Garros was a spot in the quarter-finals last year.

"Clay is not really my favourite surface, but I'm trying," Radwanska said. "Last year I did my first quarter-final, so hopefully this year I can do even better."

Radwanska started her match with a break to a take a 1-0 lead, but her serve failed her moments later when Shuai was able to even the score. The same happened over the next four games. But after a fourth break, Radwanska finally held to make it 5-3.

"When I just broke myself in the end of the first set I think was more confident, and then I think I start to play much better," Radwanska said.

Seven-time grand slam champion Venus Williams, No.14 Carla Suarez Navarro and No.31 Daniela Hantuchova also advanced. Serena could meet Venus in the third round if both get through their next matches.

Eighth seed Angelique Kerber dropped only four games in her 6-3 6-1 first round victory against Katarzyna Piter.

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