Serena Williams was forced to dig deep into her full repertoire of tennis tricks to survive a second round French Open scare against Mihaela Buzarnescu and book her place in the third round at Roland Garros.
The 39-year-old kept her hopes of landing an elusive record-equalling 24th major alive, with a fighting 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 win over the Romanian.
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Williams, who has been one short of Margaret Court's all-time record of major trophies since 2017, brushed off a second-set blip to come through the gripping three-set battle.
The 23-time grand slam champion's serve proved a dominant weapon throughout the contest, but Serena's court coverage and shot-making was also something to behold.
One rally early in the deciding set had the entire crowd on their feet as Williams and Buzarnescu traded some 20 shots in an absorbing back-and-forth.
In the end it was a superbly whipped forehand crosscourt winner from the American that decided the epic point.
All either player could do was smile at the level of tennis on display, with fans flooding social media to share their delight.
Williams - who has won three of her 23 grand slam singles titles at Roland Garros - largely had her at times un-returnable serve to thank as she stormed to victory in the third set.
"I've been practising my serve a lot. I've been playing, in practice, unbelievable on my serve. The other night was, wooooow," she said, rolling her eyes.
"I'm glad it came better today.
"My coach told me it's good that I'm doing it well in practice, because eventually it will be good in the match."
Serena faces all-American showdown
By the end of the first set, Williams had won 20 of 23 points she served.
In the second set, things changed with Buzarnescu finding her rhythm to break serve twice but after a bit of a reset, Williams got going back in the right direction.
"I knew going into the third, I just had to zero in on those important points," she said.
"If I could just take those, it would be an easier time for me."
Last year, Williams withdrew before the second round in Paris because of an injured left achilles.
No such issues so far this time, and the 39-year-old American covered the court well, although she did have some tape on her right thigh.
Next for the seventh-seeded Williams is an all-American match-up against Danielle Collins, who overwhelmed Anhelina Kalinina 6-0 6-2.
Ajla Tomljanovic, the only Aussie woman in action on Wednesday, was beaten 6-2 6-3 by Russia's 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Third-seeded Aryna Sabalenka littered the court with dozens of unforced errors but still beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich in their Belarusian battle 7-5 6-3 to move into the third round.
The upsets resulted in 10th-seeded Belinda Bencic and Veronika Kudermetov, the 29th seed, going out while other seeded players to advance to the last 32 were Victoria Azarenka, Marketa Vondrousova, Elena Rybakina, Madison Keys and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
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