Williams* 6-4 1-4 Collins (*denotes next server)
Just past the hour mark and Williams might have the set advantage but Collins has the momentum. An error strewn game from Williams and Collins holds to love.
Williams 6-4 1-3 Collins* (*denotes next server)
Collins goes on the offensive, coming in to the net to volley her way to 15-0. Williams returns with some booming strokes to move to 40-15 but Collins is not overawed, slipping in a drop-shot that Williams only takes two steps towards retrieving before conceding defeat. A sweet, sweet backhand on the run brings up deuce and Williams is rattled as she dumps into the net. Break point Collins.
Not just rattled, Williams is frazzled. A double fault. COLLINS BREAKS
Williams* 6-4 1-2 Collins (*denotes next server)
Fierce hitting from these two. Even with a slight disruption mid-game when Williams goes to fetch a new towel, Collins maintains her focus to hit a winner for 40-15 and then forces her opponents into an error to hold. She almost looks like she skips back to her chair.
Williams 6-4 1-1 Collins* (*denotes next server)
Slammed shut in the previous game, the door is back ajar suddenly for Collins as she impressively fashions three break points.
She can’t get on the end of a fierce deep return on the first, and when the ball then skips up kindly for Williams in the mid court, that’s a second gone. Ah but there’s a double fault from Williams. COLLINS BREAKS BACK
Williams* 6-4 1-0 Collins (*denotes next server)
Normally Collins is renowned for being one of the louder players on tour, with plenty of shouts of ‘come on’. But she seems a little subdued today. What can she deliver in the second set?
30-30 not the start she would have hoped, especially as a string on her racquet then pings on the next rally. She lets out a show of frustration on the ball, her mood not helped again when she dumps a return into the net. WILLIAMS BREAKS
Serena in full flow
Williams 6-4 Collins* (*denotes next server)
Serving for the set… Williams opens with TWO double faults, her first of the match. Determined to rub them from her mind, she runs in to the net on the next, stretching for a volley for 15-30, before superb feet adjustment on a high bouncing ball allows her to hit a forehand winner.
Two errors from Collins and the opening set goes to Williams. It’s been just as close as we predicted.
Williams* 5-4 Collins (*denotes next server)
When in doubt, revert to the backhand, Collins! From seemingly being out of the point, she zings one straight down the line on the run. And then follows that up with another for her seventh backhand winner of the set to make it 30-30.
An error brings up set point Williams but Collins digs it out with a forehand and then yells ‘come on’ after forcing Williams off court and off balance. An ace keeps her in the set.
High quality stuff so far.
Williams 5-3 Collins* (*denotes next server)
Williams will be delighted at how her serve is holding up, currently 93 per cent of points won on her first serve.
A serve-volley combo finishes off the game and puts her within sight of the first set.
Williams* 4-3 Collins (*denotes next server)
A fist pump from Collins and a clap of appreciation from Williams who acknowledges the lob her opponent has just inflicted on her. But soon after Collins drags a backhand wide of the tramlines and coughs up double break point.
Collins tries a drop shot, it looks like she has pulled it off but Williams somehow gets there, a scream accompanying her efforts. The point and the game is hers… but I wonder how much her strapped up right thigh felt that one? WILLIAMS BREAKS
Williams 3-3 Collins* (*denotes next server)
All going with serve so far, and crucially Collins has not managed to have much of an impact on the Williams service game.
Williams* 2-3 Collins (*denotes next server)
Collins’ first serve might not be firing as well as her opponent but her groundstrokes are very much on point currently, the pick of the bunch a cross-court forehand winner as she holds to love.
Williams 2-2 Collins* (*denotes next server)
Williams keeping a very calm, composed manner about her at the minute. And in good news for her fans, she seems to be moving freely around the court. A comfortable hold for her there.
Williams* 1-2 Collins (*denotes next server)
A brutal, no-chance-of-catching-that forehand return from Williams opens the third game. It sets the tone as in the blink of the eye she’s got herself three break points.
The trusty backhand saves Collins on the first, a body serve then ties Williams up in knots on the next…. and there’s another backhand to wrongfoot her opponent before she closes things out. Far from straightforward but Collins maintains the lead.
Williams 1-1 Collins* (*denotes next server)
If Collins wasn’t already aware, there’s a reminder that Williams means business, taking on a rising volley and confidently winning the point. The seventh seed has her opponent on the run again two points later and again swats it away for 30-15.
There’s a sublime service return from Collins followed by a fist pump but Williams’ service action is ticking along nicely early on and she holds.
Williams* 0-1 Collins (*denotes next server)
Collins to serve first and it’s a confident start, whipping two delicious backhands, one down the line and one cross court, to race into a 40-0 lead. But Williams pounces on some slower Collins second serves to drag the game back to deuce.
Collins’ early struggles with her first serve continue but she’s aided by a wild return long from Williams to hold.
Serena is warming up in a what looks like a black anorak, albeit a much more stylish one than you or I would wear on our travels. Below is the lime green ensemble she was wearing in the previous round.
And like in the previous round, plenty of strapping on that upper right leg.
Collins is sporting black shorts and a vest top. We’re almost ready to go.
First glimpse of the players on court
The only previous meeting between Serena Williams and Danielle Collins came earlier this year in February at the Yarra Valley Classic in Melbourne which Williams won on a tie-break.
Collins is prone to the odd error here and there but she’s got groundstrokes that can punish an opponent. I’m plumping for another close affair this afternoon.
Zverev wraps things up in three sets…
… which means Serena Williams and Danielle Collins will be making their way from the locker room now to Court Philippe Chatrier.
Facing Serena Williams today will be pal Danielle Collins, who spoke to tennis correspondent Simon Briggs on the eve of the tournament about her battle with endometriosis.
The American dropped just two games in her win over Anhelina Kalinina in the previous round.
Seeds falling quickly in the women’s draw
Despite the wet weather in Paris, there has been a decent amount of action already today and Aryna Sabalenka’s error-strewn exit to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has left the French Open without its top three women’s seeds inside the first week.
World number one Ashleigh Barty was forced to retire through injury during her second-round match, which followed the much-publicised withdrawal of Naomi Osaka.
Sabalenka has been one of the most in-form players of the last few months and won the biggest title of her career in Madrid last month but she has yet to make a real impression at a grand slam, failing to go beyond the fourth round.
That has clearly become a psychological hurdle and, having fought back from a set down against experienced Russian Pavlyuchenkova, Sabalenka struggled to keep the ball in the court, making 39 unforced errors in total in a 6-4 2-6 6-0 defeat.
Almost time for the all-American clash
We’re into the dying embers of the match between Alexander Zverev and Laslo Dere, with the former about to wrap things up in three sets. Which means next up on court will be Serena Williams versus compatriot Danielle Collins in the round of 32.
Questions over Serena Williams’ form
It’s fair to say that Serena Williams has come into a grand slam with expectations very low – in fact possibly as low as they have been in years for the 23-slam star. The American hasn’t looked remotely close to her peak – she arrived in Paris with only one victory on clay this season, was taken to three sets by Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu in the second round and heavy strapping around her thigh suggests possible injury worries.
Today her third round match up against Danielle Collins should provide a good glimpse as to where her game is at Roland Garros.
Her first round win over Irina-Camelia Begu – when she faced two set points in the first set tie-break – hinted at vulnerability and the seventh seed is yet to suggest she’ll be a challenger for the Suzanne Lenglen Trophy.
Williams beat Collins in Australia earlier this year but since then her opponent has addressed her long-standing issue with endometriosis, and this match will be tougher than those against Buzarnescu and Begu.
Speaking of Collins, who was able to stay in or around the top 50 while suffering from the debilitating condition, Williams had this to say: “She’s a really awesome person off the court. I love seeing her in the locker room. Ideally it would be great if we didn’t have to play each other, because I always want her to do super well.”
Collins reached this stage thanks to 6-0, 6-2 victory over Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina, a result and performance that suggests that, following her surgery, she is feeling as good as she has on court in some time. She is also known as possessing the loudest “Come on” shouts on the circuit and will be up for the challenge of taking on one of the all-time greats.
Stay here for all the action on the famous red clay in Paris and to find out if Serena has it in her to taste success for a fourth time at the French Open.