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How Serena Williams responds to accusations that she 'was born a guy'

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GETTYNovak Djokovic could challenge Rafael Nadal at the French Open

She admitted the suit also had some functionality to it, after she suffered through blood clots after Olympia's birth.

Williams, who said she was "lucky to survive" the birth, has spoken about Olympia being the main focus in her life, but also made it clear she had not lost any of her will to win. I can show Olympia that I struggled, but now I'm happy with who I am and what I am and what I look like...

Barty came out pretty strong, but it was clear that Serena was not playing up to her usual level from before her break from tennis. "I don't mind playing singles and doubles - I will fight my heart out". Williams, though, was clearly not at her best. "But not yet. Maybe this goes without saying, but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more Grand Slams".

American Serena Williams believes she can play even better than she did before she took a break from tennis to give birth.

"The catsuit, I had a lot of problems with my blood clots, and, God, I don't know how many I have had in the past 12 months", she said.

"It's not a typical outfit". I know that the WTA are going through all the right processes.

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"The biggest difference is definitely I'm semi on time today", she said. It's important to be yourself and to bend things and to try something new and to try something fresh. "I have given tennis so much, and tennis has actually given me a lot, and I couldn't be more grateful".

The great escape followed a similar fightback win from a set and a service break down in the first round against Sorana Cirstea and thrust Gavrilova into a showdown with Australian Open semi-finalist Elise Mertens on Saturday.

Williams hit just three winners in the opener while 22-year-old Barty could afford to bide her time, just two winners and four unforced errors.

Should she get through the first couple of rounds, Serena appears to have been handed a good draw, although may have a potential last-16 clash with Kristyna Pliskova's sister and sixth seed Karolina, who reached the semi-finals a year ago.

But just as the half-full crowd, enjoying the late evening sunshine on Court Philippe Chatrier anticipated a quick kill, Williams came storming back, reeling off four straight games for 4-1.

Sharapova, playing the tournament for the first time in three years after missing 2016 through a doping ban and last year when she was refused a wildcard, battled from a 0-3 deficit in the final set to beat Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

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