Serena keeps 'Black Panther' catsuit despite questions

GETTYNovak Djokovic could challenge Rafael Nadal at the French Open

GETTYNovak Djokovic could challenge Rafael Nadal at the French Open

Meanwhile, Serena chose to give a shout out to working mothers just like her. Two years has been a really long time since my last match on clay but I feel good. I want to play my game, regardless of who is on the other side. I really try to put her first in my life, along with, God and my family.

"She's playing unbelievable, and she's had such an incredible year last year and this year as well", said the three-times French Open champion and former world No.1.

The 24th seed teetered on the brink of a humbling straight-sets exit before saving a match point with a 2-6 7-5 6-3 Houdini act.

Fighting spirit: Maria Sharapova celebrates after victory against Netherland's Richel Hogenkamp.

However, her stay in Paris nearly proved short-lived until she summoned the same fighting spirit which helped her conquer life-threatening blood clots after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian in September.

"She's continuing her fantastic rise since she came back and been so focused on tennis".

Williams appeared once again in her striking, all-black catsuit.

Williams fired herself up to turn the tide, though, showing great defence and anticipation to put away a forehand for an immediate break back before letting out a roar after a rasping backhand victor put her a break up at 3-1. But then Serena roused herself into action in a way only she can.

Queensland's Barty and grand slam titan Williams, contesting her first tournament since childbirth previous year, will square off for a place in the third round.

Williams hit 13 aces in the match.

World number one Nadal had been two sets up but 0-3 down in the third to Bolelli when rain caused the tie to be suspended late Monday.

Pliskova also broke to tie the game at 3-3.

After playing so infrequently, it's as if Serena Williams is starting from scratch.

A break in the third game of the decider proved crucial and Williams claimed victory on a second match point with a sweeping, running forehand.

Nadal, bidding for an 11th title in Paris and his 17th major, next faces Argentina's Guido Pella for a place in the last 32.

"In the first set she gave me a hell of a lot of cheapies, a lot of errors", said theAustralian who had secured her highest ever seeding at a major in Paris.

It proved to be decisive - despite Barty's best efforts to overturn the deficit - and the mother-of-one took strode into the next round with a second break at the death. I trained hard. I'm just happy to have a won match here.

Williams and Barty have played only once previously, with the American posting an easy win at the 2014 Australian Open.

"She's a genuine champion".

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