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Serena in 3rd rd.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – One destroyed racket – and one poor set – later, Serena Williams made it safely into the third round of the Rio Olympics as she bids for a second consecutive singles gold medal.

The No. 1-seeded American struggled for quite a while Monday night, before emerging with a 7-6 (5), 6-2 victory over France’s Alize Cornet, despite making 36 unforced errors and getting broken four times.

“I just needed to relax. I was missing shots by, literally, centimeters, and I’m not really used to missing those shots,’’ Williams said. “I really had to figure out a way to adjust.’’

Williams started well enough, taking the first three games and compiling 17 of the match’s first 21 winners.

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