/ Tennis

Serena Williams storms out of the blocks at the French Open

Updated: Sunday, 26 May 2013 18:02 | Comments

Serena Williams won 56 of the 78 points in her clash against Anna Tatishvili
Serena Williams won 56 of the 78 points in her clash against Anna Tatishvili

Serena Williams overcame two lots of nerves on the first day of the French Open - crushing Anna Tatishvili and then speaking about the match in French.

The world number one returned to the scene of one of the most painful defeats of her career but was utterly dominant in a 6-0 6-1 victory over Georgia's Tatishvili that took only 51 minutes.

Twelve months ago on Court Philippe Chatrier, Williams also went into the tournament as the form player only to suffer the first opening-round defeat of her grand slam career against 111th-ranked Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano.

The 31-year-old did not allow the ghost to haunt her, which was not really a surprise given her form.

Since the Razzano loss, Williams has won 68 of 71 matches, 10 tournaments including Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open, and now, 25 straight matches.

She said: "I was definitely nervous. I have to say I'm always a little nervous going into first-round matches at slams, but this time I wasn't as nervous as I was previously or in other grand slams.

"But, for the most part, I felt pretty safe and felt good about my game, and that if I can just do what I do in practice, I'll be okay."

The American has not been a crowd favourite at Roland Garros but she found the way to their hearts today, receiving a huge cheer when she began speaking French in her on-court interview.

Williams, who is coached by Frenchman Patrick Mouratoglou and spends a fair amount of time in Paris, said: "I have been speaking French for years and years, but I don't really have a lot of confidence.

"I just had to jump in. Once I get there and I get warmed up, I know how to say things and what I can speak. It's just getting that confidence to speak in French. It's way, way, more nerve-wracking than playing tennis."

Next up for Williams is 19-year-old Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, who had Maria Sharapova in serious trouble here two years ago in a performance that led Andy Murray to tweet his opinion she would be world number one in the future.

Garcia's rise has not been as swift as may have been expected and she is still outside the top 100 at 113th.

Williams' only title at Roland Garros came 11 years ago, and she knows it is a tally that should be higher.

The world number one said: "I just keep trying and it hasn't been working out for me. I think I may have got nervous in the past or may have basically choked a few matches away.

"I've played some opponents that played well, but I have probably had opportunities and gave it away. I think some matches I just lost because maybe I wasn't intense enough or maybe I didn't do enough work before I got here to the tournament."

Fifth seed Sara Errani was runner-up here last year to Sharapova and the Italian was almost as clinical as Williams today, beating Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus 6-1 6-2.

Errani did not want to dwell on last year's achievements, saying: "It's a new tournament for me. Also, last year was an unbelievable tournament, the best tournament of my life. I don't want to think about that."

Former champion Ana Ivanovic has been in decent form but had a few hairy moments in defeating Petra Martic 6-1 3-6 6-3.

Ivanovic looked to have staved off a fightback by her Croatian opponent when she won the first five games of the decider but Martic pulled back three and might have made it even closer.

Ivanovic said: "I was really going for it at 5-0, 5-1, 5-2, and when it got back to 5-3, I really was a little nervous.

"I lost it a little bit for a few points. But I really managed to keep composed at 0-30 on my service game. And it was really a big game."

Puerto Rican teenager Monica Puig caused the first upset of the tournament on her grand slam main draw debut, the 19-year-old defeating 11th seed Nadia Petrova 3-6 7-5 6-4.

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