A total of four U.S. women are still in the hunt after the second round of the French Open women’s singles tournament, including four-time Olympic gold medalist Serena Williams, last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens, 2014 Youth Olympian Sofia Kenin and a surprise entry from rising star Amanda Anisimova.
A fifth – Madison Keys – could join them. The No. 14 seed and 2018 semifinalist was playing Australian Priscilla Hon Thursday, but after they split the first two sets the match was suspended until Friday for better light.
Anisimova, 17, became the youngest U.S. woman to reach the round of 32 at the French Open since Williams in 1998 when she upset No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-4, 6-2 on Thursday. She spoke afterward about what an inspiration Williams has been, even sharing details of a pep talk the 23-time Grand Slam champ gave her after a tough loss at the Miami Open earlier this season.
Later in the day, Williams notched her own victory to move forward in the tournament, where she is seeking to win her first major title since motherhood and tie Margaret Court’s all-time record for Grand Slam wins. The 37-year-old Williams admitted to some nerves in the opening round but seemed to have put that behind her in a decisive 6-3, 6-2 victory over Japan’s Kurumi Nara.
Stephens, the No. 7 seed, moved through her match against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo with a 6-1, 7-6 (3) victory on Wednesday. Stephens was last year’s runner-up at the tournament, losing to Romania’s Simona Halep in the final. On Wednesday, Tormo fought back from an 0-3 deficit in the second set but unforced errors hurt the Spaniard and Stephens came through with the winners she needed in the tiebreaker to seal the victory.
Another American moving on is Kenin, who was scheduled to face No. 22 Bianca Andresscu of Canada on Thursday, but Andreescu withdrew from the tournament citing a shoulder injury.
Round of 32 action begins Friday with Stephens as the lone American set to hit the court that day. She is set to face Polona Hercog of Slovenia.
Four U.S. women saw their tournaments come to an end in this round. On Wednesday, Lauren Davis lost to No. 26 Johanna Konta of the United Kingdom 6-3, 1-6, 6-3; No. 28 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain ousted Shelby Rogers, 6-1, 4-7 (4), 6-3; and Slovenian Polona Hercog topped Jennifer Brady 6-3, 6-7 (8), 6-4. Eighth-seeded Australian Ashleigh Barty dispatched Danielle Collins 7-5, 6-1 on Thursday.
Taylor Fritz, the only U.S. man left in the singles tournament after the first round, also saw his bid end in round two. Fritz lost to No. 18 Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 on Thursday.