x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Serena Williams keeps her winning streak on track at the French Open

The American world No 1 makes it win No 27 on the trot as she reaches the last 16.

Serena Williams is through to the fourth round at the French Open.
Serena Williams is through to the fourth round at the French Open.

Serena Williams will hope she can ignore her winning streak for four more matches, after cruising into the fourth round of the French Open yesterday.

Her 6-0, 6-2 victory over Romania's Sorana Cirstea made it 27 straight wins for the world No 1 and 70 from 73 since her first-round defeat at Roland Garros last year.

Williams said: "I actually don't think about it, and after every match I'm reminded. And, ironically enough, I forget about it as soon as it's done.

"I don't think it's about a winning streak. I think it's about winning important matches and winning the right matches at the right time."

Williams has looked extremely focused during this tournament; she has lost only six games in six sets so far.

One of the most dominant periods of her career has come since she began working with the French coach Patrick Mouratoglou, whom she hired after losing early in Paris last year.

She said: "I didn't know it would be this successful. I honestly just thought I just needed a place to hit, and I'm an open individual.

"I'm open to a lot of different things, and I liked some of his suggestions, so it was just like we can try to work together and see how it goes."

Maria Sharapova is a round behind but wasted little time yesterday in beating Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 6-4 to reach the third round of the competition.

The defending champion drew the short straw, weather-wise, on Thursday, not starting her match until late because of the poor weather and then being unable to finish.

Bouchard and a reluctant Sharapova left Court Philippe Chatrier at 9pm with the rain falling steadily and the Russian only two games away from victory.

But it did not take long for Sharapova wrapped up a 6-2 6-4 victory, and she said: "It was a pretty long day yesterday. I left here pretty late and then had an early morning. But we all know what to expect.

"We all knew the weather wasn't going to be really good yesterday. I was happy to play part of the match and obviously get myself in a good position to come out today and finish the match."

The Russian will play her third-round match today against China's Zheng Jie, who has had an extra day to prepare.

Marion Bartoli did not make it onto court on Thursday, and the Frenchwoman was given another tough match by the Colombian qualifier Mariana Duque-Marino.

The 13th seed saved two match points in a first-round win over Olga Govortsova three days ago and had to fight back from 5-2 down in the first set yesterday to win 7-6, 7-5.

The No 12 seed Maria Kirilenko also made it through to the third round, along with the former champion Francesca Schiavone, who knocked out the No 21 seed Kirsten Flipkens.

Last year's runner-up, the fifth seed Sara Errani, has looked very impressive so far. She continued her smooth progress with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over the German Sabine Lisicki.

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