27 May 2009

"Real number one" nearly upset first up in Paris

8:51 am on 27 May 2009

The world women's tennis number two Serena Williams has narrowly avoided a major embarrassment in her opening match at the French Open.

After recently claiming to be the game's "real number one", Williams was taken the distance by the unseeded Czech Klara Zakopalova in a match lasting nearly two-and-a-half hours.

The winner of the last two grand slam events eventually won 6-4 in the third set, after the Czech had saved eight match points.

The men's ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, runner-up at last year's Australian Open, registered his first win at his home slam beating fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau in four sets.

After a scorching opening day in Paris, temperatures plummeted 15 degrees after overnight thunderstorms, and rain interrupted play for two hours early in the day.