There is no doubting the greatness of Serena Williams even as she got off to a shaky start in her first round match at Roland Garros. The three-time French Open Champion proved in the last match against Russia's Vitalia Diatchenko that she still has the grit and the power residing in her to demolish her opponents when she came back from a set down to send an ambitious Diatchenko packing home.
After a comprehensive 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 win, Serena, reveling in her "mother, champion, queen, goddess" playing costume, sailed into the second round of the tournament and has to face the obstacle of Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara.
In hot pursuit of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam (tennis legend Margaret Court holds this record), Serena is trying her best to find the familiar tempo and will surely look into committing less of the unforced errors and reduce the glaring 24 she made in the first match against Diatchenko. The 37-year-old Serena is a marvel to be playing this well at this age.
Her rustiness can be excused given the fact that she hasn't been regular in the circuit for the last few months, owing to her pregnancy followed by parenting duties. However, none of that has deterred Serena as she is back on the red clay and looks more determined than ever to make a statement. There is no stopping the younger Williams once she gets into her rhythm and batters those aces and channelizes her usual aggressive style of play.
The 27-year-old Kurumi Nara, isn't someone new on the block, either. She has been a former World Number 32 and has gained a lot of experience by being in the lower rungs of the circuit. Her previous Round of 128 match was a long drawn out one against Slovenia's Dalila Jakupovic which stretched over into three sets, finishing at 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 in favour of the Japanese.
The barely 5ft 1 inch player has to get over the exhaustion of her previous match and bring her best form to the table to ensure that this debut encounter with Serena Williams is not all a one-woman show. If she succeeds in pulling off an upset today by disrupting the 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena, she will sail into the third round of a Major tournament for the first time.
Casting all the anomalies aside, it should be Serena who will have the edge in this Round of 64 match. In all probability, Serena will up her game and march to a straight-sets victory and get closer towards an elusive 24th Grand Slam title. Kurumi Nara has a tough challenge ahead of her and she cannot leave any room for error if she has to make a place for herself in the match which promises to be exciting, given Serena's form.
Here's all you need to know about the match:
Tournament Name: French Open 2019
Tournament category: Grand Slam
Prize Money: 4.27 crores EUR
Match: Serena Williams (10) v Kurumi Nara at 4:50 pm IST
Live Telecast: Star Sports Select 1 and Star Sports Select HDPublished 30 May 2019, 13:29 IST