Serena shows plenty of fight to subdue Barty

Serena Williams

Serena Williams plays her first match since March Credit Getty Images

"I just said I've got to be better, I've got to fight harder", Serena said.

"I don't even know what material it is, it looks like neoprene".

Williams' opening match against Kristyna Pliskova turned into a serving contest, which played right into the American's hands. Williams, the 23-time major champion, gave birth to a daughter in September and saw her rankings tumble while she was out.

She did not play any clay-court tournaments before arriving in Roland Garros, preferring to focus on improving her fitness and sharpening her game outside of competition at her coach Patrick Mouratoglou's academy near Nice, France.

Williams, seeking a 24th Grand Slam title, is to face Germany's Julia Goerges for a place in the last 16.

Two former No. 1s in Maria Sharapova and Karolina Pliskova will clash in the third round after respective wins over Donna Vekic and Lucie Safarova.

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.

Williams, who returned to tennis in March, was asked about her chances at Roland Garros - a tournament she last won in 2015.

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"I definitely thought there would be a lot of reactions over the outfit", she said.

'By coming out in the match today and beating the No. 6 in the world, I might have the opportunity to do that.

Taking to Twitter, the 23-time grand slam victor acknowledged the suit was, "For all the moms out there who had a tough recovery from pregnancy", adding, "If I can do it, so can you". I've got to just try harder, ' she told the crowd afterward.

Vekic, the world number 50, offered stiff resistance at 5-4 in the second set but she bowed out on the fifth match point when Sharapova fired a sizzling forehand victor.

"Catsuit anyone? For all the moms out there who had a tough recovery from pregnancy-here you go".

The match between tennis' two comeback queens turned the instant Williams released a primal roar after blasting a backhand return victor after being broken in the opening game of the second set.

Barty led by a set and a break before falling 3-6 6-3 6-4 to the returning grand slam colossus.

A fifth ace of the contest won her the set.

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