May 25, 2016
Agnieszka Radwanska looked impressive on the fourth evening of Roland Garros as she fought her way past a decent opponent in Caroline Garcia.
The Polish star needed three match points but was never in too much trouble as the number two seed defeated the underdog, 6-2, 6-4.
A delighted Radwanksa said: ‘It was a little harder in the second set but I feel good and I’m just happy to be through.’
Her eastern European rival, Simona Halep found it harder going against Zarina Diyas earlier in the day but she still won in straight sets to reinforce her seeding at six.
A shock looked on the cards in the first set when Halep was broken twice and trailed 1-4 in the first.
But she recovered to take it on a tie-break and cruised through the second set 6-2.
Even more impressive was Garbine Muguruza, who defeated wildcard Myrtille Georges 6-2, 6-0 to show that her nerves have well and truly settled following a tricky opening round.
And these players, you sense, will provide the main threat to Serena Williams after so many other rivals fell by the wayside.
Victoria Azarenka had to retire hurt and Angelique Kerber was knocked out earlier in the tournament, removing perhaps the most powerful challengers Serena had for her crown.
After what has happened in recent Slams, Williams will take nothing for granted. Neither should she, with Muguruza, Halep and Radwanksa still waiting in the wings.
Meanwhile Andy Murray made more heavy weather of a little-known opponent when he needed another five sets to beat Mathias Bourgue.
Although the Scot eventually prevailed 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 against the world number 164 from France, he will need to find some ruthlessness very quickly if he is to avoid burnout against higher-quality opponents later in the week.
His fellow Brit Heather Watson fell victim to the powerful experience of Svetlana Kuznetsova in the women’s draw, as the Russian won by an emphatic 6-1, 6-3.
Watson gave Serena a terrific scare at Wimbledon last year. But Williams may just have enough in Paris to extend her extraordinary tally of Grand Slam titles if she stays focused for the full fortnight.