Serena Williams made a slow but successful start to her latest pursuit of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-0 win over Kristie Ahn in the French Open first round.

World number 102 Ahn served for the opening set at 5-4 but Williams forced a tie-break she dominated before charging through the second set to book a clash with Tsvetana Pironkova for a spot in the last 32 in a rematch of the US Open quarter-final. The Bulgarian beat Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-3.

Williams, playing at the French Open for the 18th time, dropped serve twice as Ahn moved 5-4 ahead in the opener in a rematch of their first-round encounter at Flushing Meadows. But the sixth seed forced a tie-break that she sealed with an ace after a 74-minute slog before charging to an ultimately comfortable victory.

The competition began Sunday amid steady drizzle in temperatures struggling to reach 10 degrees (50F), conditions branded “ridiculous” by US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka.

Play on Monday was initially delayed by more persistent rain. Twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova defeated Oceane Dodin 6-3, 7-5 in the only match to start on time under the new roof on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Dutch fifth seed Kiki Bertens recovered from a poor start once conditions improved to overhaul 112th-ranked Ukrainian Katarina Zavatska 2-6, 6-2, 6-0.

Third seed Elina Svitolina scrapped past Varvara Gracheva of Russia 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 while last year’s runner-up Marketa Vondrousova was bundled out 6-1, 6-2 by 2018 junior champion Iga Swiatek.

Kerber out

Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber has lost in the first round of the French Open for the second straight year.

The 18th-seeded German was beaten by 19-year-old Slovenian Kaja Juvan 6-3, 6-3. Kerber once held the No. 1 ranking and has won every major title except the French Open. Her best performance at Roland Garros was the quarter-finals in 2012 and 2018.


Bernarda Pera (USA) bt Cici Bellis (USA) 7-6 (7/3), 6-1

Amanda Anisimova (USA x25) bt Tamara Korpatsch (GER) 6-2, 6-0

Iga Swiatek (POL) bt Marketa Vondrousova (CZE x15) 6-1, 6-2

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) bt Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x28) 6-1, 2-6, 6-1

Katerina Siniakova (CZE) bt Lauren Davis (USA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2

Sara Errani (ITA) bt Monica Puig (PUR) 6-2, 6-1

Kiki Bertens (NED x5) bt Katarina Zavatska (UKR) 2-6, 6-2, 6-0

Elina Svitolina (UKR x3) bt Varvara Gracheva (RUS) 7-6 (7/2), 6-4

Renata Zarazua (MEX) bt Elsa Jacquemot (FRA) 6-1, 6-2

Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) bt Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-3, 6-3

Serena Williams (USA x6) bt Kristie Ahn (USA) 7-6 (7/2), 6-0

Christina McHale (USA) bt Karolina Muchova (CZE x22) 6-2, 6-4

Petra Kvitova (CZE x7) bt Oceane Dodin (FRA) 6-3, 7-5

Jasmine Paolini (ITA) bt Aliona Bolsova (ESP) 6-4, 6-3

Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) bt Barbara Haas (AUT) 6-3, 7-6 (7/1)

Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) bt Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 6-1, 6-2

Garbine Muguruza (ESP x11) bt Tamara Zidansek (SLO) 7-5, 4-6, 8-6

Patricia Tig (ROU) bt Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 7-5, 7-5

Polona Hercog (SLO) bt Diane Parry (FRA) 6-4, 6-2

Leylah Fernandez (CAN) bt Magda Linette (POL x31) 1-6, 6-2, 6-3

Kaja Juvan (SLO) bt Angelique Kerber (GER x18) 6-3, 6-3

Clara Burel (FRA) bt Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (7/2), 6-3

Alize Cornet (FRA) bt Chloe Paquet (FRA) 6-3, 6-2

Zhang Shuai (CHN) bt Madison Keys (USA x12) 6-3, 7-6 (7/2)

With AFP Inputs