Serena under the lights

 - Danielle Rossingh

The American legend will feature in the first-ever night session at Roland-Garros against Begu

Opening nights in the theatre are usually full of stars. And when you need a superstar, there are few better than Serena Williams.

The American, chasing a fourth Paris crown and a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, will meet world No.74 Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania in the first-ever official Roland-Garros night session on Monday.

The match, which will begin at 9pm local time, will be played behind closed doors due to the ongoing coronavirus curfew in Paris, something that is set to be lifted in time for the last of 10 night sessions, on Wednesday June 9.

The pair have met just the once, in Rome in 2016, when Williams won easily, but Begu reached the last 16 in Paris that year.

The 39-year-old Williams comes into Paris searching for form, having lost early in Rome and Parma, but as a three-time champion, the American knows how to get the job done.

As Wim Fissette, the coach of No.2 seed Naomi Osaka, said on the eve of the event. “Obviously we never, ever forget about Serena.”

Serena Williams, Roland Garros 2021, practice© Loïc Wacziak/FFT