RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil
Serena will saved a pair of set points to defeat an always-dangerous Alizé cornet 7-6(5), 6-2, to reach the third round of the Olympic tennis event.
"It was really big for me just to win that first set," Serena said after the match. "Or else I'd probably still be out there fighting."
Ranked just inside the Top 50 after an up and down season rife with injury concerns, Cornet still had reason to be confident heading into her second round clash with the 22-time Grand Slam champion, having won their last three meetings in 2014 - including an epic third round thriller on the lawns of Wimbledon. Recovering from a double break down in the first set, the Frenchwoman moved her illustrious opponent about the court, drawing uncomfortable errors with the help of her signature drop shot.
"We've had so many tough matches in the past, so I couldn't let the elements get into my head. I hadn't played great against Alizé in the past - I don't know how many matches! - so I thought how I at least wanted to get a win."