Serena Williams, chasing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, overcame a wobbly start to reach the second round of the French Open with a 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 victory against Russia's Vitalia Diatchenko on Monday.
The mother of one arrived at the 2019 French Open making another fashion statement. Last year at the French Open, Serena sported a specially designed Nike catsuit.
It was her first time back on the Grand Slam circuit since giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia, and the outfit was designed to help prevent blood clots (she has a history of them and was at risk from being post-partum).
The French Open didn't love the look, and Bernard Giudicelli, the president of the French Tennis Federation, announced a new dress code a few weeks later that would prohibit similar looks (the Women's Tennis Association in the US, for their part, gave it a green light).
This year, William's returned to the tournament, wearing another statement look for her match- she wore a custom performance outfit by Virgil Abloh for Nike involving a black and white two-piece with a matching cape printed with words, ‘Champion’, ‘Queen’, ‘Goddess’, and ‘Mother’ in French.
Later, the 10th-seeded American peppered Court Philippe Chatrier with unforced errors in an ugly opening set before finding her range to set up a meeting with Japan's Kurumi Nara or Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic.
"I'm just happy to win today," the American said after her 800th tour-level victory.
The three-time Roland Garros champion is looking to emulate Margaret Court, who claimed 24 majors spread across the amateur and professional eras.
Williams's haul started at the US Open 20 years ago but she has not won a major since she beat her older sister Venus in the Australian Open final in 2017.
She produced a see-saw display in an half-empty stadium on Monday, struggling to adapt to windy conditions in chilly weather.
Diatchenko broke in the fifth game with a crosscourt backhand winner to open a 3-2 lead, and won on her opponent's serve again in the seventh game to secure the opening set.
Then Williams fired up the engine and raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set, losing only one more game as Diatchenko faded away.