Serena Williams wins women’s French Open

By HOWARD FENDRICH

AP Tennis Writer

PARIS – What started out as a stroll became quite a struggle for Serena Williams.

After going up by a set and two breaks in the French Open final Saturday, she double-faulted away that lead. Then, suddenly, she trailed in the third set.

As the tension thickened, Williams was warned by the chair umpire for cursing loudly. She even felt the need to hit one shot left-handed.

Ah, but when Williams plays her best, no one is better. Putting aside a lingering illness, a mid-match lull and a feisty opponent, Williams won her third title at Roland Garros and 20th Grand Slam singles trophy by beating 13th-seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2.

“I got so frustrated. I was just so angry at myself. I pretty much gave the match away,” the No. 1-seeded Williams said, her voice scratchy and her nose stuffy. “I just had to, like, try to pull it together.”

That she did, taking the last six games and adding to her 2002 and 2013 championships on the French Open’s red clay. Those go alongside six each from the U.S. Open and Australian Open, and five from Wimbledon.

“When I was a little girl, in California, my father and my mother wanted me to play tennis,” the 33-year-old American told the crown in French earlier.

“And now I’m here, with 20 Grand Slam titles.”