French Open: Serena Williams has an 'excellent' chance of Roland Garros glory - Wilander, plus Evert reaction
Seventh seed Serena Williams showed all her fighting spirit as she battled past fellow American Danielle Collins in their French Open third-round clash and Mats Wilander thinks the draw is opening up perfectly for her with Chris Evert also giving her take. It may have been a straight sets, 6-4 6-4, win on Court Philippe Chatrier, but it was anything but easy for the 23-time Grand Slam champion.
Serena has 'excellent' chance of French Open glory - Wilander
Serena Williams defeated compatriot Danielle Collins in their third-round match at the French Open and Mats Wilander believes she can go all the way in Paris, while Chris Evert has also given her take.
"They were two very close sets, but Serena is playing really, really well," Wilander said. "She is hitting the ball well, she is moving well and it was a really good performance.
"She has a great champion's mindset, and that is why she has 23 majors - it's mainly because of what is up here.
I think it looks excellent for Serena. Aryna Sabalenka is out, Ash Barty is out, Simona Halep is not here, Naomi Osaka is out, Petra Kvitova is out.
Highlights: Serena storms past Collins to progress in Paris
"So who can win the tournament? It's not going to be a nobody. Serena has won plenty of majors here; Victoria Azarenka knows how to win; Sloane Stephens knows, so I think it is going to come from there.
"I know she [Serena] doesn't like to look at the draw, but she should, because it is opening up nicely. Does that put pressure on her? Maybe, but she knows better than everybody that she knows how to win Grand Slams, even at 39."
'A rocket!' - Serena launches 'intimidating' winner against Collins
Fellow Eurosport expert and legend Evert added: "I think Serena has done very well so far, she gutsed out a few matches, she has come from behind, her serve is looking good.
"I hope the thick strap around her thigh isn't serious because her movement is crucial on this surface. I have been very impressed with how she has played so far but the second week will be telling.
"That's really where the top, top players need their A-Game. You almost don't need your A-Game in the first week, but in the second week you definitely do. So that will be telling.
"With Serena she doesn't need a whole lot of matches like normal people to get into her groove. She still wins the big points on her serve, she still concentrates and focuses on every point. I think she is moving very well.
"It doesn't surprise me she has made it through these early rounds, as competitive as she is I figured she would make it through to the second week. I just think the second week is going to be far more challenging and tougher for her."
'I needed to find me, know who I am' - Serena after win over Collins
Collins threw everything she could at the seventh seed, but it was never quite enough and she suffered breaks of serve at crucial points in both sets to come up short.
Williams found herself under the cosh at 4-1 down in the second set against Collins after winning the first but produced an inspired resurgence to storm back and take the match in clinical fashion.
At all the big moments in the match, Williams produced what was necessary to come through and she closed out the impressive win in one hour and nine minutes.
The American will next take on 21-year-old Elena Rybakina in the fourth round as she eyes a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title.