By Ros Satar, in Paris
- Serena Williams def. Ashleigh Barty  3-6 6-3 6-4
- Faces Julia Goerges next
PARIS, FRANCE – Serena Williams booked her spot in the third round coming back from a set down to beat 17th seed Ash Barty.
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Serena Williams def. Ashleigh Barty  3-6 6-3 6-4
If there is one player you could count on to play herself out of trouble, especially at a grand slam, it was Serena Williams. The returning three time champion had wowed the crowds with a striking cat-suit, and her frank honesty regarding her postpartum issues and in part, ongoing health issues since the birth of her baby.
To reveal any kind of weakness was not a measure of Serena in the past, but the relatability of the former champion has been every bit as much of a wave to coast as the Parisian’s getting carried away at the end of a three setter between Ashleigh Barty and Williams.
Not that it was easy to get over the line, by any means. Having been broken just once by the Aussie for the first set to go asunder, it looked as though Williams’ comeback was going to be short-lived as Barty struck the first blow with an immediate break in the second set. However, Williams broke back twice and rode out the set.
A single break was all it needed for Williams to get out in front, but she couldn’t quite break for it in the penultimate game. With the crowd getting boisterous as the light was falling, a serve to love sends Williams into a match-up with an in-form Julia Goerges.
Williams said, after the match: “You know, it was kind of fun to have the crowd so excited and doing the wave (smiling). It was definitely interesting. Actually, sometimes as a player, it’s a little frustrating because you want to get the match on.
“This time around, I was just taking it in and enjoying the moment. Then I wasn’t sure what to do. Like, should I serve? Should I not serve? When it’s that close, you just keep going and you keep fighting. The last few games, I just kept doing that. Won a few or lost a few. But I just kept doing the best I could for today.”
Although the recovery time is precious, Serena is playing with sister Venus in the doubles – but while she freely admits she is ‘world’s worst practicer’ there is method to the increased schedule madness.
“I have never had a good practice, I don’t think, ever in my life. Or maybe twice (laughter). And that’s in my career was, like, my career has probably been 32 years? Yeah, I’m the world’s worst practicer. Everything is wrong. But I’m being nicer to myself. I’m working on that (smiling).
“It’s either play doubles or practice for two hours, so I’d rather play doubles (smiling). It’s really the same thing, so it’s no difference.
“But the only difference is I’m actually getting in extra match play and I’m really lacking match play. So I’m in a position where I need the matches, and so I’m going to have to play doubles.”
Williams will play in the third round on Saturday, and play continues at Roland Garros at 11am (10am BST).
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