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BLOCKBUSTER SET: SERENA VS AZARENKA

2015-5-29


PARIS, France - Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka's potential third round clash at the French Open became a reality on Thursday, as they both fought off tricky challengers in the second round.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Paris right here on wtatennis.com!

For one of them it was a far, far trickier day at the office, though. The No.1-seeded Williams' 15-match Grand Slam winning streak came under serious threat against WTA Rising Star Anna-Lena Friedsam, who not only won an intense 44-minute first set, 7-5, but had points to go up a set and a break in two separate games early in the second set, with Williams serving in the first game and again at 2-all.

But Williams pressed through all of those moments, snuck out the second set and broke early in the third, eventually finishing off the unheralded German after nearly two hours on court, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3.

Williams was clearly unsettled in the match, her 39 winners outweighed by 52 unforced errors.

"I'm probably more frustrated than relieved, but I know I'm capable of playing great tennis - just haven't seen it yet," Williams said. "But I don't really want to reflect too much on it. One thing Venus always tells me: a win is a win, and as long as you live to survive the next day, you can always improve.

"I know my level is literally a hundred times better than I played today, so I take more solace in the fact I can play better, as opposed to the fact that's the best I could play. Then I would be in trouble."

It was the same round - and the very same court even, Court Suzanne Lenglen - where Williams lost at the French Open last year in an absolute stunner to another WTA Rising Star, Garbi馿 Muguruza.

Azarenka, the No.27 seed, followed with a less complicated 6-2, 6-3 win over Lucie Hradecka.

And now, Williams will face Azarenka in a match between two of the all-time greats - Williams leads Azarenka in their head-to-head series, 15-3, and has won all three of their clay court meetings, but their last one was about as close as you could get, Williams fighting off three match points to win.

"There won't be too many surprises for either of us. We always have tough matches," Azarenka said.

"Facing somebody who's No.1 in the world is never easy, but I just want to focus on my game, on my energy, and try to play the best as possible. There's no question I have to come up with my A game."

"Out of all of the top players, for whatever reason, she's given me some particular troubles," Williams said of the Belarusian. "She's great at what she does. She fights hard and never gives up, and she's really feisty. I think that's obviously why she's been able to be a Grand Slam champion, not just on one occasion. Those players aren't the easiest to play; they also get you excited to play those matches."



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