It can take a tennis legend to know a tennis legend and Chris Evert says Serena Williams has not lost her ability to turn on the style in big moments after moving into the third round of the French Open.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion had a rocky second set against Mihaela Buzarnescu, but eventually swept the 174th ranked Romanian aside in the decider to advance 6-3 5-7 6-1.
Evert is impressed that the 39-year-old still has such a passion and desire for the game and says she continues to show her greatness when she is up against it on the biggest stage.
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“One thing you can say about Serena is that she still lifts the level on the big points, it’s unbelievable,” Evert said on Eurosport.
“She hasn’t forgotten the ebbs and flows of a match when she has to turn it on, when she has to focus a little bit more.
Buzarnescu lost a lot of big points, because Serena just came on top and she hasn’t lost that instinct to play well when she feels danger, her level goes up.
“She’s coming back pretty quickly, remember before this tournament she only had three matches on clay, she’s looking better and better, moving smoother and smoother on the clay and she’s being patient.”
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Williams came into the tournament in poor form having suffered early exits in her preparation events at the Italian Open and the Emilia-Romagna Open, but now looks to have found her feet as she chases a first Roland Garros trophy since 2015.
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Evert won it seven times and believes her compatriot is playing herself into form at just the right time. Next up is an all-American clash with world number 50 Danielle Collins.
“Look out for fireworks because this is a feisty young player,” said Evert.
“She’s one of the few players who went to college and then because of college went on to play the pros very successfully, so she gets commended for that.
She’s come on strong and she hits the ball hard and flat and you will feel her presence on the court and it will match Serena Williams. They’re both very strong minded and we could have a little clash of the titans.
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Watch all the action from the 2021 French Open live on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app with 13-time champion Rafael Nadal eyeing a remarkable 14th title at his favourite event and 2020 Roland Garros sensation Iga Swiatek aiming to replicate her stunning triumph in Paris.
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