Serena battles back against Slovenian qualifier

London (AFP) –


Seven-time champion Serena Williams survived a scare to come through and reach the third round at Wimbledon on Thursday, beating Slovenian qualifier Kaja Juvan 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

The 37-year-old American -- bidding to join Margaret Court with a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title -- struggled to impose herself on an opponent ranked 133 in the world.

"She played well and then I started out a little slow," said Williams, who was watched by close friend, Britain's Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

"It brings the best out of me the pressure. I play best when I am down sometimes. I am a fighter I never give up."

Juvan showed few signs of nerves despite the reputation of her rival and being on Court One.

Williams made countless errors -- netting normally easy volleys and loose forehands -- allowing Juvan to keep her hopes alive even when she drew level at one set all.

The American, whose season has been affected by a knee problem, looked to be in control serving for the match having broken the 18-year-old twice.

However, the Slovenian, who beat star American teenager Coco Gauff to qualify for the French Open this year, fought mightily to break her.

However, Williams made no errors at the second opportunity serving for the match winning it to love.