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Serena successfully begins defense of French Open title on Day 3

ROME, ITALY - MAY 13: Serena Williams of the United States in action against Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia during day six of the The Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2016 on May 13, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
May 24, 2016 02:18 PM

By Ashley Marshall, USTA.com

If Day 2 of the French Open was highlighted by the emergence of the young Americans coming up through the ranks, Day 3 belonged to the U.S.'s top players.

All four American seeds in action on Tuesday advanced to the second round, giving Team USA a total of 12 players in the round of 64, which begins on Wednesday.

On the women’s side, world No. 1 Serena Williams successfully began the defense of her crown with a 42-minute, 6-2, 6-0 win over Magdalena Rybarikova. The top seed in the Paris dropped just five points on serve and converted six of 12 break-point chances. She will play either Teliana Pereira or Kristyna Pliskova in the second round.

Serena (pictured above) is a three-time champion at Roland Garros, with victories in 2002, 2013 and 2015. She has also appeared in the quarterfinals five other times and the semifinal once. A victory in Paris this year will match Steffi Graf’s Open era-reocrd of 22 Grand Slam women’s singles titles.

Keeping it in the family, No. 9 seed Venus Williams also advanced on Day 3. The elder Williams sister defeated Estonia’s Annett Kontaveit, 7-6(5), 7-6(4), and she will now play fellow American Louisa Chirico, who outlasted compatriot Lauren Davis, 6-2, 2-6, 8-6, in the first round.

Seven-time major winner Venus and 20-year-old New York native Chirico have never met before, but Chirico came through the qualifying draw last week and  has recorded clay-court victories over the likes of Ana Ivanovic (at Madrid earlier this month) and Lucie Safarova (in Charleston in April) already this spring.

Elsewhere on Day 3, No. 15 seed Madison Keys toppled Donna Vekic of Croatia, 6-3, 6-2, to set up a second-round encounter with Mariana Duque-Marino, and 2016 USTA Pro Circuit Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge winner Taylor Townsend punched her ticket to the next round with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Amandine Hesse. The 20-year-old left-hander, ranked 172nd in the world, will play No. 18 seed Elina Svitolina in Round 2.

World No. 63 Irina Falconi defeated Mona Barthel, 6-4, 0-6, 6-2, to advance past the first round of a major for the fifth time in her past six tries. Falconi, who reached the third round at the French Open last year, will meet French veteran Pauline Parmentier in the second round.

Among the men, No. 15 seed John Isner grinded out a tough first-round victory over Australian John Millman, 6-7(4), 7-6(12), 7-6(7), 7-5. Isner will face Kyle Edmund of Great Britain in the second round.

In other action, Brian Baker fell in straight sets to No. 20 seed Bernard Tomic of Australia, fast-rising 18-year-old Taylor Fritz went down to fellow teenager Borna Coric and Rajeev Ram lost in four sets to Jiri Vesely.

Samantha Crawford lost to Timea Babos of Hungary, Sachia Vickery was defeated by Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova and Varvara Lepchenko fell to 27th-seeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova in three sets.

 

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