Tennis: No sweat for Serena as she swings into French Open 3rd rd, father's day as Djokovic wins in front of son

Serena Williams survived a first-set fright in her opening match, but there was no hiccup this time.
Serena Williams survived a first-set fright in her opening match, but there was no hiccup this time.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS, AFP) - Serena Williams breezed into the third round of tennis' French Open on Thursday (May 30) with a routine 6-3, 6-2 win against Japanese Kurumi Nara, wasting no energy in her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title.

The 10th seed, chasing a first major since the 2017 Australian Open, survived a first-set fright in her opening match, but there was no hiccup this time.

She will take on fellow American Sofia Kenin in the next round, with world No. 1 Naomi Osaka a potential opponent in the quarter-finals.

Men's top seed and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic cruised into the third round and admitted it had been an emotional day playing for the first time in front of his four-year-old son.

The Serb, bidding to become just the second man to hold all four Slams at the same time twice, cruised to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 win over Swiss lucky loser Henri Laaksonen.

As often with Williams, both the clothes and the arm did the talking on Court Philippe Chatrier.

She stepped into the stadium wearing her Virgil Abloh-designed dress printed with the words "Reine, Mere, Championne, Deesse" (Queen, Mother, Champion, Goddess).

On court, the 37-year-old was given a decent workout by world No. 238 Nara, who was playing her only second match in the main draw of a tour-level tournament this year.

Nara stood her ground in the first seven games but derailed in the eighth as Williams broke for 5-3 with a booming forehand winner down the line.

The Japanese cracked earlier in the second set, dropping serve in the third game, and never recovered as Williams snatched her 801st victory on the tour.

Watching Djokovic from the player's box on Court Suzanne Lenglen was his four-year-old son Stefan.


Watching Novak Djokovic from the player's box on Court Suzanne Lenglen was his four-year-old son Stefan. PHOTO: REUTERS

"It's a very special day for me as it's the first time that I have played in front of my son," said the 32-year-old Serb.

"He showed incredible patience to sit there for an hour and a half.

"Usually, he's not that patient with tennis."

Last July, Stefan joined in with the celebrations on Centre Court as Djokovic claimed a fourth Wimbledon title.

However, he was not allowed to watch the final against Kevin Anderson as the All England Club bans all children under the age of five from attending a match.

Djokovic goes on to face Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso, ranked 147, for a place in the last 16 in Paris.

 
 
 
 

Thursday was a lot more enjoyable for Djokovic than his last visit to Court Suzanne Lenglen in 2018, when he was knocked out in the quarter-finals by Marco Cecchinato.

His win over world No. 104 Laaksonen was his 23rd straight at the Slams as he reached the third round in Paris for the 14th consecutive year.

Caruso, 26, upset French 26th seed Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 to reach the third round of a Slam for the first time.

Fifth seed Alexander Zverev moved into the third round with a comfortable 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) win over Swedish qualifier Mikael Ymer.

The 22-year-old German has struggled to make an impact at the Grand Slam tournaments despite winning three Masters titles and last year's ATP Finals.

His best major effort came in Paris when he lost in the quarter-finals 12 months ago.

Zverev needed five sets to get past dogged Australian John Millman in the first round, but had no such troubles against world No. 148 Ymer as he booked a last-32 clash with either Serbian 30th seed Dusan Lajovic or French qualifier Elliot Benchetrit.