Serena Williams Tops Kristyna Pliskova in 2018 French Open 1st Round

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Williams wrote an open letter to her mother a year ago to thank her for her support over the issue.

The tennis ace defeated Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in the first round at Roland-Garros, and afterwards said the new black catsuit she was sporting on court had helped her win. She played a poor service game in the middle of the set, and Barty won a break which she would not relinquish, winning the first set 6-3.

The temperature hit 25C in Paris but it did not seem to affect the 23-time major victor in her first Grand Slam match since giving birth last September.

She was a break down again after dropping serve in the opening game of the second set.

"I have definitely always had that will to win".

Get through that, and Williams would face either five-time major champion Maria Sharapova or 2016 US Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova.

Serena Williams is back in action - and winning matches her sister, Venus.

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Speaking to Britain's Harper's Bazaar, she said: "Honestly, sometimes I think I still have to deal with it". The 22-year-old Ashleigh Barty, the world No.17, was not here to make up the numbers but once "Serena came out", it was increasingly hard to see her win. Then came the second-round match against Ashleigh Barty.

But as the match wore on, and rust fell from the American's game, she single-mindedly imposed her will.

Coming into the tournament with not enough match play under her belt, Serena was playing against a Top-20 opponent who has been on the rise.

The 23-time grand slam victor revealed the outfit was as much about functionality as style.

"I feel like a warrior wearing it, a queen from Wakanda [a reference to the Black Panther movie] maybe", she said. "The connection that it gives me to Olympia, it's been one of the most magical things I've ever experienced". But having been bedridden for six weeks after suffering a series of complications, including a pulmonary embolism that led to multiple surgeries, Williams is only too aware of what she had to overcome to get herself ready for Paris. Or I'll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, Why do I feel so sad when I have a attractive baby?

However, by highlighting that single word it summed up where Williams, the victor of 23 major titles, thinks her place is among the sporting greats.