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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 May 2007, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Pironkova v Serena gamewatch
French Open

First round:

T PIRONKOVA Bul v S WILLIAMS US

7-5 1-6 1-6

GAME-BY-GAME UPDATES:

By Caroline Cheese

Pironkova 7-5 1-6 1-6 Williams
One final error from Pironkova and Williams books her place in the second round. She looks a relieved woman.

Pironkova 7-5 1-6 1-5 Williams
Pironkova slams a forehand return at Serena's feet to see off one game point but she nets a backhand and Serena is one game away.

Pironkova 7-5 1-6 1-4 Williams
As this match meanders towards its conclusion, defending champion Justine Henin is a set up on Elena Vesnina over on Chatrier Court. The Belgian's a break down in the second set though.

Pironkova 7-5 1-6 1-3 Williams
The crowd come alive very briefly as Pironkova stops a run of nine games against.

Pironkova 7-5 1-6 0-3 Williams
Pironkova is coached by her father - who is also a former canoe champion. The Bulgarian could do with a paddle to get her out of this particularly nasty creek. Speaking of parents, Oracene Williams has clearly spotted something funny as she's chuckling away. Not sure what.

Pironkova 7-5 1-6 0-2 Williams
Pironkova will do well to get on the scoreboard in this final set if these early skirmishes are anything to go by. Williams has gone from barely finding the court to barely being able to miss. It is a quite remarkable turnaround - but typical of the eight-times Grand Slam winner.

Pironkova 7-5 1-6 0-1 Williams
Pironkova's body language tells its own story. The teenager chucks her racket on the ground after sticking a backhand just wide. A double fault gives Serena the early break.


Second set

Pironkova 7-5 1-6 Williams
Serena is a different player - and Pironkova doesn't seem to have anything to combat this one. We're all level and there's only one winner now. I think.

Pironkova 7-5 1-5 Williams
Williams produces the shot of the match so far, a beautifully angled backhand winner cross court. Even Pironkova's applauding. The teenager's not feeling quite so charitable when Serena goes on to make it a double break - and surely now the set.

Pironkova 7-5 1-4 Williams
This is more like it. Williams' grunting gets louder and louder as she finally makes her superiority tell with some crunching groundstrokes.

Pironkova 7-5 1-3 Williams
Just as you think Serena's getting it together, she belts one spectacularly long. Patience is the key in these soggy conditions but it's not something Serena is used to excercising. She reins in her attacking instincts long enough to clinch a break.

Pironkova 7-5 1-2 Williams
With the temperature about 12C, Serena has got a long-sleeved top over her dress. It's pink of course. The heavy conditions are taking all the sting out of the Aussie Open champion's groundstrokes but she scrambles ahead.

Pironkova 7-5 1-1 Williams
Pironkova, ranked 91 in the world, is looking for her second win over a Williams after she stunned Venus at the Australian Open in her first Grand Slam match last year. She squanders the break immediately.

Pironkova 7-5 1-0 Williams
Serena looked as if she was crying during that last changeover. You can't really blame her - this is a truly horrible day for the former world number one, and it's as you were in the second set. Serena establishes a 40-15 lead then lets it slip with some ugly errors.


First set

Pironkova 7-5 Williams
Amid near silence on a sparsely populated Suzanne Lenglen Court, Pironkova clinches the first set. Serena gives it to her with four successive errors and the American might be praying the rain returns.

1721 BST: After more than five hours of sitting about, Serena Williams and Tsvetana Pironkova return to Court Suzanne Lenglen. When they begin, Pironkova will serve for the set against the Australian Open champion.

1156 BST: No sign of the rain relenting for the moment but I will be back as soon as there's a sniff of action.

1133: Safin wraps up a 6-1 6-3 6-1 victory in one hour 25 minutes and with the weather forecast as it is, the 22nd seed could have a few days off before he plays either Janko Tipsarevic or Dusan Vemic.

1131 BST: As the rain pours down, Safin takes a 5-1 lead on Chatrier and Vicente doesn't look like he fancies holding up the Russian's charge.

1125 BST: They are still playing on Chatrier Court where Marat Safin is mauling Spain's Fernando Vicente. The Russian is 6-1 6-3 3-1 up.

"That's the most stupid thing I've ever seen. It's not raining that hard and they could have easily carried on."
BBC Sport commentator John Lloyd

There's a bit of to-ing and fro-ing as the umpire discusses with organisers whether to stop play. Serena makes the decision for them as she marches to her chair and puts her tracksuit top on. Play is eventually suspended, which doesn't go down well with the crowd.

Pironkova 6-5 Williams
This is probably not the barnstorming start to the tournament organisers were hoping for. It's a terrible match in front of a half-empty stadium and it's raining. Pironkova shrugs off the disappointment of losing a 5-2 lead and she will serve for the set again.

Pironkova 5-5 Williams
The French crowd make their voices heard for the first time as, at set point down, Serena wanders up to the umpire and asks whether they should continue playing in the pouring rain. Almost inevitably, Pironkova loses the next point. She lets slip another set point with some horribly tentative play and that could well be curtains for the Bulgarian.

Pironkova 5-4 Williams
Just as Serena finally starts getting her act together, the heavens open. Serena screams "come one" in terrifying fashion as an ace gets her to within a game of a faltering Pironkova. They're playing on for now.

"What appeared to be a humiliatingly bad weather forecast for French meteorologists might have some truth in it. The wind's getting up and the sky is darkening."
BBC Sport's Piers Newbery at Roland Garros

Pironkova 5-3 Williams
This isn't pretty. Serena wastes three break points before Pironkova earns her first set point. But the teenager is crippled by nerves all of a sudden and Serena is back in it.

Pironkova 5-2 Williams
She's not going to win the set is she? Pironkova's fearless attacking is proving far too much for Serena. The 19-year-old will serve for the first set.

"Serena's outfit has caused some disquiet in the Five Live commentary box."
BBC Sport's Piers Newbery at Roland Garros

Pironkova 4-2 Williams
It's a cakewalk for the the Bulgarian. Serena dumps a lame backhand into the net and Pironkova posts the first love game of the match.

Pironkova 3-2 Williams
Just as it looks like Serena's ready to stamp her authority on the match, she goes AWOL again. Pironkova breaks.

Pironkova 2-2 Williams
An unnamed member of the BBC team reckons Pironkova's serve is so bad, it's worth tuning in for. Serena seems to have cottoned on to that and two return winners help her get back on serve.

Pironkova 2-1 Williams
Serena shows the first sign of frustration as she lets a 40-0 lead slip and finds herself at deuce. But she belts a forehand down the line to get on the scoreboard.

Pironkova 2-0 Williams
Let's get the important stuff out of the way. Serena is wearing a bright pink halterneck dress with a purple sports bra. It looks a lot better than her tennis at the moment.

Pironkova 1-0 Williams
The Parisians have clearly been scared off by the weather forecast because there's hardly a soul on Lenglen Court. The absentees have missed a good start from Pironkova who breaks first up.

1006 BST: Rain is on the horizon today but it hasn't reached Paris just yet. Serena and Pironkova are out warming up on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

SEE ALSO
Sunday's order of play
26 May 07 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
22 May 07 |  Tennis
Contact the BBC TV tennis team
24 May 07 |  Tennis
Women's French Open draw
25 May 07 |  Tennis
Men's French Open draw
25 May 07 |  Tennis


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