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Serena Williams edged a little closer to a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title with a battling three-set win over 174th-ranked Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania on Wednesday and declared: “That was kind of fun”.

The 39-year-old Williams, a three-time champion in Paris, won 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 and will face fellow American Danielle Collins for a place in the last 16.

Williams, seeded seventh, has been one short of Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 majors since winning the Australian Open in 2017.

“It was a good competition, she played well, I played well. The points were long. It was kind of fun,” said Williams who played with her right thigh heavily strapped.

“I was smiling out there which is rare for me, but it’s always good to enjoy your job.”