"When push came to shove, the real Serena came out". "I have been wearing trousers in general a lot when I play, so I can keep the blood circulation going".
Williams faces her next opponent, the 11th-seeded Julia Görges from Germany, tomorrow in the round of 32.
However, just as the half-full crowd enjoying the late-evening sunshine in Court Philippe Chatrier anticipated a quick kill, Williams came storming back, reeling off four straight games for 4-1.
She made no mistake either as Williams put a forehand long to allow Barty to break to love and move 4-2 in front.
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Halep's progression was much more comfortable, a 6-3 6-1 victory over Townsend bringing up a 30th match win of the year, while Garbine Muguruza, Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber were all round-two winners.
Meanwhile, Serena made a decision to give a shout out to working mothers just like her. It lead to her having a laugh as the chair umpire begged for the crown to maintain decorum. The shouts that accompanied each victor left no doubt about her commitment to the match.
"It's disappointing because I was well and truly in the match". I've got to just try harder, ' she told the crowd afterward.
Williams also believes that fighting back from losing the first set will be beneficial in sharpening her game. Now it will be Görges's turn to see if she can capitalize on Williams's continuing search for top form.
Williams is short of match sharpness and the footwork is not quite there yet.
"She won a big title in Stuttgart, so I have to be ready for this match and I'll be ready", Sharapova said of Pliskova, who she defeated in their only previous meeting in the 2015 Fed Cup final. "I decide for myself".