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French Open Sunday: Serena On Court

World No.1 Serena Williams begins her title defense, and sister Venus is also in action on the first day of play at Roland Garros.

Published May 24, 2014 12:12

French Open Sunday: Serena On Court
Serena Williams

PARIS, France - Defending champion Serena Williams, World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska and Venus Williams are among those kicking off play at the French Open on Sunday.

Sunday, First Round

Court Philippe Chatrier
[1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [WC] Alizé Lim (FRA)
First meeting
Seventeen-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams is one major away from tying Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert for second-most during the Open Era. Twice a winner here, including last year, Williams begins her title defense against Alizé Lim.

"I don't remember the last time I was defending champ, so it feels really good," Williams said. "I like being seeded No.1. The favorite part is definitely more pressure, but as Billie Jean King tells me, 'Pressure is a privilege.' For me, the French Open is extremely important because it's a Grand Slam I have won only twice and I want to win more and more. I won Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open five times."

Though Williams' 53-1 record in Grand Slam openers gives her a 98% winning percentage, best among active players, she will surely not overlook Lim after what happened to her here two years ago. Like Lim, Virginie Razzano was a Frenchwoman ranked outside the Top 100, but she handed Williams her only first round Grand Slam loss. Lim's task is tremendous, however, as she has just one WTA main draw match win to her credit.

[3] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) vs. Zhang Shuai (CHN)
Head-to-head: Radwanska leads 1-0
Agnieszka Radwanska has won her last 20 Grand Slam first round matches and has the second-best winning percentage among active players in such matches, but she could have her hands full on Sunday. Chinese No.2 Zhang Shuai rose to her career-high ranking earlier this week during a season that has seen her reach two WTA semifinals and one quarterfinal. And during that quarterfinal outing a week ago in Rome, she recorded her second Top 10 win over No.6 Petra Kvitova.

Though she is titleless so far this season, Radwanska has been going deep into tournaments, and her 30 wins is tied for the most on the WTA this year.

Court Suzanne Lenglen
[29] Venus Williams (USA) vs. Belinda Bencic (SUI)
Williams leads 1-0
In a match-up of experience against youth, Venus Williams takes on Belinda Bencic. At 33, Williams is the second-oldest player in the draw, and her 57 matches played here is the most among active players. Bencic is the second-youngest player in the draw at 17, and is making her French Open debut.

Though seven-time Grand Slam champ and former French Open finalist Williams lost her opener here last year and at this year's Australian Open, she is having a solid season that has seen her win Dubai and reach the final of Auckland. Bencic, who achieved her career-high ranking earlier this week and is the youngest player in the Top 100, made her first WTA semifinal last month in Charleston.

Also on court...
No.8 seed Angelique Kerber, No.14 seed Carla Suárez Navarro and former French Open winner Francesca Schiavone all play their first round matches.

Read more details and stats about Sunday's match-ups in our Match Notes.

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