Serena defies boos to progress

Serena Williams was greeted with jeers and whistles but then eased into the fourth round of the French Open with a 6-0 6-4 victory over Croatia’s Silvija Talaja.

Serena Williams was greeted with jeers and whistles but then eased into the fourth round of the French Open with a 6-0 6-4 victory over Croatia’s Silvija Talaja.

The Wimbledon champion needed a convincing performance following her three-set scare against 17-year-old Russian Maria Kirilenko in the second round but it was never that, even against an opponent in Talaja who appeared totally overwhelmed by her first meeting with arguably the best women’s player on the planet.

The crowd watched the first one-sided set, which took just 20 minutes, in embarrassed silence and it took Tajala until the third game of the second set to trouble the scoreboard when she broke the Williams serve courtesy of several wild errors.

She broke the next Williams serve also when the American double-faulted on game point and suddenly the second seed was under pressure.

Not enough to effect the outcome, but the second set was a real struggle, with the Williams game beset by the same unforced errors which characterised her match against Kirilenko and she shrieked in frustration as the groundstrokes regularly missed their target.

Former champion Jennifer Capriati survived a scare before battling past Russian Elena Bovina in three sets to reach the last 16.

The seventh-seeded American began in superb fashion but was pegged back by Bovina and Capriati, the 2001 champion, needed all her experience and skill to finally triumph 6-2 3-6 6-4.

Capriati will now play Italian Francesca Schiavone, the 17th seed who beat Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-2 6-3, in round four.

Anastasia Myskina also moved into the last 16 after the number six seed defeated Denisa Chladkova of the Czech Republic 6-3 7-6 (7-3).

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