Tennis: Williams aims for title tally of supreme Court

Serena Williams on her way to a hard-fought 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 second-round French Open victory against 17th seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia on Thursday. The American, who needs just one more Grand Slam singles title to equal Margaret Court's record tall
Serena Williams on her way to a hard-fought 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 second-round French Open victory against 17th seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia on Thursday. The American, who needs just one more Grand Slam singles title to equal Margaret Court's record tally of 24, said: "I want to be able to one day tell my daughter that I tried my best."PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PARIS • Serena Williams said she wants to make her daughter proud as she targets Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Major singles titles.

She will face German Julia Gorges today for a place in the last 16 of the French Open.

A fourth Roland Garros singles crown in her first Slam since winning last year's Australian Open while two months pregnant will equal Court.

"I want to be able to one day tell my daughter that I tried my best," Williams said, after defeating Australian 17th seed Ashleigh Barty 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday.

Her serve has not lost any of its sting and she sent nine aces flying past Barty.

But her movement around the court is not as slick as she would like - she has played only five singles matches since becoming a mother to Alexis Olympia.

Gorges is hoping to capitalise on the 36-year-old's continuing search for top form. They have played only twice, but not since 2011, with Williams winning both matches.

"The name Williams has incredible status in tennis and rightfully so," Gorges said.

"Still, I believe you've got to distance yourself a little from the name of your opponent. I want to play my game, regardless of who is on the other side."

The 29-year-old's game is based on big serving and her big forehand. She has never been past the fourth round in a Grand Slam tournament, but is 22-10 this year and one spot away from her career-high ranking of No. 10.

Pat Cash, the former Wimbledon champion who is coaching American player CoCo Vandeweghe, has tipped Gorges to win.

"That's a tough one for Serena. I honestly wouldn't expect her to win that," he said. "But it's different when you're out there on centre court, and Serena's been there so many times. So you know, she's got a chance.

"She competes better than anybody for a long, long time. She gets out of matches or wins matches she has no right to win."

REUTERS, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2018, with the headline 'Williams aims for title tally of supreme Court'. Print Edition | Subscribe