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Serena Williams dropped a set in her 3rd round victory against Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu on day 4 of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris.

Williams beat Buzarnescu 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 to advance to the 3rd round, where she faces 27-year-old Danielle Rose Collins, of St. Petersburg, Florida.

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The 38-year-old mom-of-one is seeded 7th in the Grand Slam tournament. She is chasing an elusive record-tying 24th Grand Slam title.

Williams hasn't won the French Open since 2015 and hasn't made it past the quarterfinals at Roland Garros since giving birth to her daughter in 2017.

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She supported tennis superstar Naomi Osaka who withdrew from the tournament on Monday after she was fined $15,000 for refusing to speak to the press.

Osaka, 23, beat Patricia Maria Tig in the first round on Sunday, and was scheduled to face Ana Bogdan in the second round on Wednesday.

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"I feel for Naomi," Williams told reporters on Monday. "I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it's like. I've been in those positions. We have different personalities.

"People are different and not everyone is the same. I'm thick [skinned] and other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently. You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to and the best way she thinks she can. I think she's doing the best that she can."

Her sister, Venus Williams, was more blunt.

The former No. 1 women's tennis player told reporters:

"I know every single person asking me a question can't play as well as I can and never will. So, no matter what you say or what you write, you'll never light a candle to me."

 

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Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open after she was fined $15,000 and threatened with disqualification for refusing to take part in a press conferences.

The 23-year-old tennis champ, who plays for Japan, was a no-show during her post-match press conference on Sunday, May 30, after defeating Romania's Patricia Maria Tig.

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Tournament officials at Roland Garros threatened Naomi and warned her that higher fines and a possible suspension could be issued if she refused to speak to the press.

Osaka made headlines last week when she issued a statement saying she would skip post-match press conferences at the French Open, citing mental health concerns.

"I've often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one.

"We're often sat there and asked questions that we've been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I'm just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me."

And in an email to French Open officials Naomi insisted her actions are "100 percent nothing against the French Open or even the press members themselves."

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In a statement posted on social media on Sunday, the world's No. 2 women's tennis player wrote:

"Hey everyone, this isn't a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.

"I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly. The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that."

Tournament bosses released a statement that read: "We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media obligations, she would be exposing herself to possible further code of conduct infringement consequences."

Officials said "repeat violations" could result in "tougher sanctions including default from the tournament and the trigger of a major offense investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions."

Naomi was scheduled to play against Romania's Ana Bogdan during the French Open on Wednesday.

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Serena Williams abruptly withdrew from the French Open, citing an Achilles heel injury that made it difficult to walk.

Williams withdrew from the French Open three weeks after losing her best chance for a 24th Grand Slam championship at the U.S. Open in New York.

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On Wednesday, Williams, 38, announced she was withdrawing from the French Open and is "struggling to walk" due to the severity of the injury.

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"I really wanted to give an effort here. It's my Achilles that didn't have enough time to properly heal after the (US) Open," Williams said at a press conference. "I was able to get it somewhat better, but just looking long term in this tournament -- will I be able to get through enough matches? For me, I don't think I could. Struggling to walk, so that's kind of a telltale sign I should try to recover."

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