PARIS (Reuters) - Serena Williams faces her first seeded opponent at the French Open on Thursday and will hope to use her booming serve to beat Australian Ashleigh Barty in the second round.
Barty, the 17th seed, cruised past Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the first round, while Serena, back at one of her favorite venues after a two-year absence, overwhelmed Czech Kristyna Pliskova in straight sets.
The American is playing in a Grand Slam for the first time since winning a 23rd title at the 2017 Australian Open and giving birth to her daughter Alexis in September.
World number one Simona Halep resumes her quest for a maiden Grand Slam crown against 22-year-old American wildcard Taylor Townsend.
In the men’s draw, third seed Marin Cilic faces Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz. Defending champion and top seed Rafa Nadal is also in action on day five, facing Argentine Guido Pella on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Order of play on the main showcourts (all matches second round unless stated, times GMT, prefix numbers denote seeding):
Court Philippe Chatrier (play starts at 0900)
3-Marin Cilic (Croatia) v Hubert Hurkacz (Poland)
1-Simona Halep (Romania) v Taylor Townsend (U.S.)
Julien Benneteau (France) v 15-Juan Martin Del Potro (Argentina)
Serena Williams (U.S.) v 17-Ashleigh Barty (Australia)
Court Suzanne Lenglen (play starts at 0900)
3-Garbine Muguruza (Spain) v Fiona Ferro (France)
Malek Jaziri (Tunisia) v 27-Richard Gasquet (France)
1-Rafael Nadal (Spain) v Guido Pella (Argentina)
Shuai Peng (China) vs 7-Caroline Garcia (France)
Court 1 (play starts at 0900)
24-Denis Shapovalov (Canada) v Maximilian Marterer (Germany)
28-Maria Sharapova (Russia) v Donna Vekic (Croatia)
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (France) v Jeremy Chardy (France)
11-Julia Goerges (Germany) v Alison van Uytvanck (Belgium)
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond