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Serena Williams battles hard against Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu - Getty Images

Serena Williams battles hard against Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu – Getty Images

Serena Williams sustained her charge for an elusive 24th grand slam title with a battling win over a spirited Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Buzarnescu, who climbed to a world ranking high of 24 in 2018, has slipped down to 148 due to a run of injuries, but showed she is still a dangerous opponent on her day.

The Romanian made the seventh seed fight for each point, every game with Williams eventually coming through 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 after two hours and three minutes on court.

Williams, who had her right thigh strapped, will next face compatriot Danielle Collins in the third round. The 27-year-old had earlier cruised through her clash with Anhelina Kalinina for the loss of two games.

06:17 PM

Serena speaks

“She has a lot of skills, she’s had a lot of good wins. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I’m glad to get through that. “It was good competition, she was playing well, I was playing well. It was kind of fun, it’s always good when you enjoy your job and you can smile. I don’t always smile on court.”

06:14 PM

Williams* 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

Two hours on the clock as Buzarnescu serves to stay in the championship. Serena makes early inroads at 0-30 and then sets up three match points when the Romanian’s resolve finally wears down. She gets the job done with the first with a solid forehand deep into the corner. GAME, SET AND MATCH: WILLIAMS WINS THROUGH TO THIRD ROUND.

06:10 PM

Williams 6-3, 5-7, 5-1 Buzarnescu* (*denotes next server)

Is Buzarnescu Simona Halep in disguise? What incredible defence from the Romanian to force Serena to keep playing one more point, after one more point. Buzarenescu turns defence into attack, executing a brilliant drop shot which is too good for Serena. It draws huge applause from the crowd. Buzarnescu laps it up, calling for more support. What a warrior she has been. But it’s all in vein, Serena hangs around to hold and looks to the sky, with a pained look. It’s been a hard battle.

06:03 PM

Williams* 6-3, 5-7, 4-1 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

Even when Buzarnescu seemingly gets her nose in front in a service game, Serena is reeling her opponent in and now finding winners with much more ease. A cracking backhand winner, struck down low and with slice brings up another break point. Buzarenescu won’t give in easily, working Serena out wide, and striking into the empty court. She holds, getting on the board – deservedly – this set.

05:58 PM

Williams 6-3, 5-7, 4-0 Buzarnescu* (*denotes next server)

Serena full of confidence now and finding the lines as Buzarnescu’s level and resolve takes a slight dip. She hasn’t played badly this set, just the big moments going Serena’s way. Some loose replies creeping into Buzarnescu’s play and Serena holds comfortably to 15.

05:54 PM

Williams* 6-3, 5-7, 3-0 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

Serena is back on court in a flash and unclear as yet as to why she needed a quick “two seconds” to go inside. Buzarnescu didn’t appear too concerned by the brief hold up in play. Within minutes both are in fits of laughter as they exchange loaded slices before Serena produces an unorthodox winner which has Serena holding her racket up in apology and both women with beaming smiles.

Buzarnescu has played this match with a great nature. Competitive, resilience and with strong focus. But Serena is starting to turn the screw now, matching her rival’s fighting spirit by sneaking her way to break point. She works her opponent side to side, and Buzarnescu drops her shoulders and strikes into the middle. SERENA BREAKS AGAIN.

05:49 PM

Williams 6-3, 5-7, 2-0 Buzarnescu* (*denotes next server)

It’s a bitty service game from Serena. The American has been struggling with consistency on her serve over the last 40 minutes. At 40-15 up, Buzarnescu hangs around again, unleashes a backhand deep into the corner for deuce. Her pressure tells again, drawing the error from Serena to bring up break point. Two break points come and go, neither player able to find their consistency. Serena finally gets over the line and then heads over to the umpire asking if she can quickly leave the court. She departs briefly, but it’s unclear why.

05:41 PM

Williams* 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

Every service game now comes with its break point moments. This time Serena gets her nose in front at 30-40 and hoping to make her mark in the deciding set. Buzarnescu folds with a double fault. Such a shame after a brilliant second set. She looks to her corner in frustration. SERENA BREAKS.

05:36 PM

Williams* 6-3, 5-7 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

Nervy moments on Serena’s serve now as some poorly timed footwork allows her rival to edge 15-30 in front. Serena battles back, but then is caught out by another funny bounce which catches the American out. Buzarescu has a set point. The Romanian keeps fighting at the back of the court, pinning Serena back and finally, finally works enough space to strike a forehand winner. Superb play. BUZARNESCU WINS SECOND SET.

05:30 PM

Williams* 6-3, 5-6 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

Pressure moment now as Serena edges 15-30 by making Buzarnescu play one more shot. A quite outstanding forehand winner down the line brings out an almighty scream from Serena. It brings up two break points. Buzarnescu misses a first serve but then clenches her fist as Serena punches a second serve into the middle. A change of racket later, and Serena returns to face the next serve. But Buzarnescu mops up another service return with a forehand down the line. The Romanian has shown great resilience and fight this set. Four straight points, and she edges ahead again this set.

05:25 PM

Williams 6-3, 5-5 Buzarnescu* (*denotes next server)

Williams slaps a regulation forehand into the middle, but tries to shake off the error by staying light on her feet and getting straight into her service action.

It works a treat. She stays focused and holds to 15. Back over to you, Buzarnescu.

05:22 PM

Williams* 6-3, 4-5 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

A whipping forehand winner gives Buzarnescu breathing space at 30-0 in a potentially difficult service game. Serena wants the umpire to check over one line call without success, before unleashing a backhand across court to hang in the game. It doesn’t last long as the Romanian delivers a quite brilliant backhand winner with her back turned to the net. It stuns Serena, and the crowd. Serena will come out serving to stay in second set.

Buzarnescu on the front-foot - Getty ImagesBuzarnescu on the front-foot - Getty Images

Buzarnescu on the front-foot – Getty Images

05:18 PM

Williams 6-3, 4-4 Buzarnescu* (*denotes next server)

Williams backs it up with a much more settled service game. Normal service is resumed – for now.

05:14 PM

Williams* 6-3, 3-4 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

Serena responds in the only way she knows how – by punishing her rival. Two break points earned. Buzarnescu saves the first, working the space and pulling the trigger on a brilliant forehand down the line. Serena is all over a slower second serve and forces it straight back at her rival. Job done. The break is back. WILLIAMS BREAKS.

05:10 PM

Williams 6-3, 2-4 Buzarnescu* (*denotes next server)

First look at a potential break on Williams’ serve at 0-30. This is unchartered ground for Buzarnescu. Williams strikes into the tramlines in the next point. Three break points Buzarnescu! First one is saved when the Romanian strikes into the middle. An out-wide first serve creates enough space for Serena to execute a winner to save No 2, before she saves the third with a solid first serve down the T backed up with a slam dunk at the net. She lets out a roar of delight (and part relief). But after doing all the hard work, Serena slaps a forehand into the middle to hand the Romanian another shot at a break. And this time she makes it when Serena strikes a backhand into the middle. BUZARNESCU BREAKS

05:04 PM

Williams* 6-3, 2-3 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

Williams edges a mini break up at 0-30 only to be passed again at the net. That’s been a favourable tactic for Buzarnescu. A forehand error gifts Serena the chance of a break at 15-40, before she pulls out a cracking winner to save another break point.

Serena gets caught in two minds during the next rally, and instead of executing a drop shot, loops a short ball back which is given short shrift by Buzarnescu. The Romanian jumps on the moment again, swings and strikes a forehand winner before wrapping up the game with a well-executed drop shot. Great resolve from the world No 148.

04:59 PM

Williams 6-3, 2-2 Buzarnescu* (*denotes next server)

Serena bends down to her knees, lifts her head and unleashes a beaming smile after being superb defensive work from Buzarenescu from the baseline. Serena threw everything at the Romanian only for her opponent to stick up a wall and catch Serena at the net. Great point, great play. A double fault brings Buzarnescu back in at 40-30 but she draws level again this set when her rival overstrikes a forehand.

04:54 PM

Williams* 6-3, 1-2 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

Buzarnescu gets her own love hold on the board this set, and she strolls back to her chair with confidence. She’s not been overawed this set as yet.

How most players feel when they face Serena - APHow most players feel when they face Serena - AP

How most players feel when they face Serena – AP

04:51 PM

Williams 6-3, 1-1 Buzarnescu* (*denotes next server)

Clever play from Williams as she shows soft hands to disguise a drop shot that is too good for Buzarnescu. Another hold to love.

04:48 PM

Williams* 6-3, 0-1 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

One-way traffic at the start of the second set as Serena races to two break points. Buzarnescu does fantastically well to draw her rival back to deuce by working Serena around the court. The Romanian digs deep to string together three straight points and edges in front this set.

04:42 PM

Williams 6-3 Buzarnescu* (*denotes next server)

Serena comfortably serves out the opening set to love.

04:40 PM

Williams* 5-3 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

Pressure again from Williams on Buzarnescu serve. Another two break points earned, this time by stepping into court and dispatching a forehand winner. Buzarnescu starts to feel the heat, and throws in a double fault to hand Serena the early break. She’ll now serve for the opening set. WILLIAMS BREAKS.

04:35 PM

Williams 4-3 Buzarnescu* (*denotes next server)

Williams backs up a deep backhand into the corner with a powerful put away at the net en route to three game points. A serve out wide provides Serena with even space to punch away the follow up. She holds to love, but still on serve this first set.

04:33 PM

Williams* 3-3 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

Opening for Serena at 30-all on Buzarnescu’s serve. The Romanian goes deep with her first serve, but outlasts Williams in the first lengthy rally of the match. A service return winner brings Serena back to deuce before getting a first look at a break when Buzarnescu drills her reply into the middle. It’s saved by a big first serve from the 33-year-old before she stays strong to see out the game.

04:26 PM

Williams 3-2 Buzarnescu* (*denotes next server)

Williams, with tapping to her right thigh, charges down a short ball only for Buzarnsecu to pass her comfortably at the net. A first double fault from the American hands her opponent only her third point off her serve before a zinging forehand gets the job done.

04:23 PM

Williams* 2-2 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

Strong service game again from Buzarnescu who has settled quickly against Serena. Williams tries to mix things up with a drop shot and bringing the Romanian into the middle, but slices into the net.

04:18 PM

Williams 2-1 Buzarnescu* (*denotes next server)

Williams gets caught out by an awkward bounce off the clay. She swings and misses, not a usual play from a player with 23 grand slam titles, but one we can all relate to. It’s the first – and only – point she’s dropped on serve.

04:16 PM

Williams* 1-1 Buzarnescu (*denotes next server)

Left-hander Buzarnescu has been hampered by injuries over the last few years, pushing her ranking down to 148 in the world. The 33-year-old reached a career high No 42 at the end of 2018, only to take time out for another injury. Buzarenscu holds to 30.

04:11 PM

Williams 1-0 Buzarnescu* (*denotes next server)

Perfect start for the seventh-seed Williams who serves to love.

04:04 PM

Next up…Serena

They’ve been kept waiting longer in the locker room than they would have wanted, but Serena Williams and Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu are minutes away from stepping out on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

03:51 PM

And a tasty-looking third-round to come

03:45 PM

Nishikori wins through

With four hours on the clock, Nishikori gets the job done against Khachanov in five sets (4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4).

What a record the Japanese has when going the distance – a 26th time he has won, losing just seven. Never in doubt!

03:21 PM

Khachanov makes himself pay

The last thing you want when you’re in the throes of a final set is an injury of any sort. But you have a little less sympathy for Khachanov when a knock is self-inflicted. The Russian sliced some skin off the top of a couple of knuckles on his right hand from punching his strings! A good dollop of sudacrem (or the equivalent) later and he’s a new man. Still on serve in the fifth, Khachanov serving at 2-3.

02:48 PM

We’re going five on Chatrier

Nishikori takes the fourth set against Khachanov in a match that has ebbed and flowed. Over three hours on course now for both men – and back-to-back five setters for Nishikori too. It keeps Serena Williams waiting in the locker room for a little while yet.

Meanwhile, Victoria Azarenka is a set to the good against 18-year-old Clara Tauson.

02:29 PM

CoVee dream is over

It was brief, but it was good while it lasted. Coco and Venus took the opening set against 13th seeds Zheng and Perez but fell to a 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 loss.

Anyone who thinks doubles isn’t as competitive as singles needs to watch Gauff’s reaction upon losing match point. She cracked her racket on the clay.

Gauff, at 17-years-old, shares tactics with 40-year-old Venus - Getty ImagesGauff, at 17-years-old, shares tactics with 40-year-old Venus - Getty Images

Gauff, at 17-years-old, shares tactics with 40-year-old Venus – Getty Images

02:15 PM

Quickfire victories

Danielle Collins, who spoke to tennis correspondent Simon Briggs on the eve of the tournament about her battle with endometriosis, dropped just two games in her win over Anhelina Kalinina.

The American was on court just 62 minutes, but that was still 10 minutes longer than it took 33rd seed Paula Badosa to defeat Danka Kovinić, also for the loss of two games.

01:55 PM

Hercog keeps up charge

This is how to celebrate a victory! Polona Hercog dismisses home favourite Caroline Garcia, taking out her second big name of the week after ousting Kiki Bertens in the opening round.

Meanwhile, over on Philippe Chatrier and Khachanov is seemingly in charge against Nishikori, leading by two sets to one and a break up in the fourth.

01:38 PM

Bautista Agut downed by qualifier

Spaniard and 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut will be packing his bags after suffering a four-sets defeat at the hands of Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen.

It’s the first time the 29-year-old has reached a third round of a slam.

01:13 PM

The student and teacher are a set up

Call them what you want – CocoVee and CoVee are two mash ups doing the rounds on social – have edged the first set on a tiebreak against their 13th seeded opponents Perez and Sheng.

01:01 PM

Tokyo place on the line for Nishikori

Interesting point made below on Japan’s Nishikori who is defending his quarter-final points from the 2019 Roland Garros. A defeat today could impact on his presence at his home Olympics.

He’s just closed out the second set to draw level with Khachanov

12:36 PM

Things you like to see

Venus Williams and Coco Gauff have teamed up in the doubles for the first time and are currently on court facing No. 13 seeds Ellen Perez and Zheng Saisai.

Gauff famously beat Venus as a 15-year-old to announce her talent to the world at Wimbledon in 2019, and then rubbed salt in the wound by beating the 40-year-old again at last year’s Australian Open.

Now 17-years-of age, holding a 2-0 record over a legend of the sport isn’t a bad look for the CV.

Gauff reaches for the ball as she teams up with Venus Williams - APGauff reaches for the ball as she teams up with Venus Williams - AP

Gauff reaches for the ball as she teams up with Venus Williams – AP

12:27 PM

We’ve all been there…

Khachanov probably wanted the clay to swallow him up after this incident. But he’s found the middle of his racket plenty of other times in his second-round clash with 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori, he’s just taken the opening set 6-4.

12:11 PM

What a turnaround!

After Sloane Stephens produced a rallying comeback against Carla Suarrez Navarro yesterday evening, Katerina Siniakova, who was down 5-1 in the third, produced an almighty recovery to save two match points and win six games in a row to oust 29th seed Veronika Kudermetova!

Siniakova is into the third round, and has never been beyond the fourth round of a major before (2019 French Open).

11:54 AM

Reporter ‘in supermarket’ update

So, the reporter I referenced in post 12.18pm, has confirmed his credentials have been revoked, but he wasn’t at the supermarket at the time of Zverev’s press conference.

11:38 AM

Zverev into third round

No drama for the German during the tiebreak as he rattles through to book his spot in the third round after near-on two and a half hours on court. A few tricky moments to navigate in the second and third sets, but largely he remained in control throughout.

11:32 AM

Tiebreak time again for Zverev

Zverev recovers from a break down in the third set to draw level and take Safiullin to another decider. He still leads two sets to love.

11:18 AM

Reporter’s credentials revoked for asking question ‘from the supermarket’

The spotlight has been well and truly on the line of questioning reporters have been taking in the post-match pressers this week, but one reporter seems to be taken their duties a little too casual.

With Covid restrictions still in place, most of the conferences have been held online and most of the accredited reporters are not on site.

One of them, however, according to Reuters, who is known for his left-field questions said he was “actually at the supermarket” when he was given his chance to speak to Zverev after the German’s first-round win earlier this week.

It is reported that the reporter has since had his credentials rightly revoked.

10:50 AM

Breathing space for Zverev

Now two sets to the good for Zverev and serving much better than the first set. The sixth seed has been cutting out his second serve problems and looks on course at this rate to book his place in the third round.

Meanwhile, the 20th seed Marketa Vondrousova, who reached the semi-finals in Paris two years ago, is on the march against France wildcard Harmony Tan at a set and a break up.

10:30 AM

Another seed tumbles

The 10th seed Bencic becomes the latest big name to exit the women’s draw as Kasatkina wraps up a 6-2, 6-2 win.

That leaves just THREE top 20 players left in the bottom half of the draw – third seed Sabalenka, seventh seed Williams and the 15th seeded Azarenaka.

10:19 AM

Bencic on the ropes

Daria Kasatkina has been in brilliant form over on Court Simonne-Mathieu to disrupt 10th seed Belinda Bencic’s rhythm. After talking the opening set 6-2, Bencic is serving to stay in the tournament staring at 5-1 down in the second.

10:09 AM

Zverev one set to the good

No service yips for the German in the breaker as Zverev wins the tiebreak with two aces to wrap up the opening set.

10:07 AM

Suarrez Navarro: I left everything out there on court

How great it was to see Carla Suarez Navarro back in action for one last time at Roland Garros yesterday evening, in her first major since recovering from cancer.

Suarrez Navarro nearly caused an upset too against Sloane Stephens, before the American battled back to win in three.

10:04 AM

Frustration from Zverev

The sixth seeded Zverev throws his racket to the clay after a double fault hands the break back to Safiullin and takes the first set into a tiebreaker.

10:00 AM

‘I sympathise with Naomi Osaka’

Columnist Judy Murray writes in the Telegraph of having sympathy for Naomi Osaka and the daunting prospect of facing the media as a young woman.

I understand the argument that media duties are part of the job – as well as the fact that lesser players can’t afford a $20,000 fine for skipping press conferences. But I also think back to the Driving Force series I presented on Sky Sports, where I spoke to ten of Britain’s most successful female athletes. Almost all of those who had struggled with depression or anxiety said it was brought on by being thrown into the spotlight when they reached the top. They were totally unprepared for it, even though it is part and parcel of being a top sportsperson.

Read the full article here

09:46 AM

Zverev up first

It remains on serve in the first set of Zverev’s second-round clash with Safiullin on Suzanne-Lenglen with 1,000 fans all masked in the glorious sunshine in Paris.

Meanwhile, there have been some issues for Pablo Andújar, who produced the shock of the tournament so far in defeating fourth seed Dominic Thiem on Sunday, in his contest with Federico Delbonis.

09:09 AM

Ready for day four

Morning all, welcome to our coverage on day four of Roland Garros in what has been quite an intense start to the second major of the season.

Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal has been the biggest talking point of the week so far, but yesterday saw further troubling news with Petra Kvitova’s retirement due to an unfortunate injury suffered during her post-match interview fulfilments and Ash Barty coming through a first-round contest after a medical timeout.

The developments on the women’s side means the draw is starting to open out for seventh seed Serena who resumes her bid for an elusive 24th grand slam title in Paris.

Williams takes on unseeded Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu in the second round later this afternoon.

In other action today, third seed Aryna Sabalenka will meet Aliaksandra Sasnovich in an all-Belarusian clash out on Court Suzanne Lenglen, while their compatriot, 15th seed Victoria Azarenka, faces Denmark’s Clara Tauson.

In the men’s draw, sixth seed Alexander Zverev gets the action underway on Lenglen as he takes on Russia’s Roman Safiullin, while later fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas faces Spain’s Pedro Martinez.

The evening match will feature second seed Daniil Medvedev, who looks to build on his morale-boosting first-round victory when he takes on unseeded American Tommy Paul.

Nadal remains the overwhelming favourite in the men’s draw to win a 14th Roland Garros title and notched up victory number 101 yesterday after proving too strong for Alexei Popyrin.

“The beginning of the match was very tough – he was playing bombs all the time and his serve was huge, and in these warm, fast conditions it is always difficult.

“He is young and the speed of his ball is just incredible. He’s fast running and when he hits the ball every time, he is going for the hardest power possible.

“It was a tough match and I was lucky to win the first set – I don’t know how I did it but I was super happy.”

Frenchman Richard Gasquet awaits Nadal in Thursday’s second round when the Spaniard will celebrate his 35th birthday.