By Martyn Herman
PARIS (Reuters) - Sickly Serena Williams suffered a dizzy second set during her third-round match at the French Open on Saturday, but recovered her senses in time to beat Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 1-6 6-2.
The American world number one needed a check-up from a doctor after dropping five consecutive games to her 18-year-old opponent in the second set and admitted afterwards that she was not feeling well during a scrappy match.
"I just got a little dizzy. I don't know. I got really fatigued. I felt really dizzy out there. I was just trying just to stay in there," the 28-year-old told reporters. "Just fighting a cold and fighting sickness.
"(The doctor) said that there's a bug that's going out. Players start feeling tired and the next day they get sick. I'm gonna load up. I've been loading up on vitamins. I should be okay. I hope."
Williams, watched by sister Venus who was wrapped up against the mid-morning chill on a grey, breezy day in Paris, lost her opening service game when a drop shot caught her napping but she looked fine as she rattled off the next six games.
A nervy Pavlyuchenkova forgot her inhibitions in the second set and stretched her opponent with some powerful ball-striking although she was aided by a raft of errors off the American's racket as she raced into a 5-0 lead.
Williams avoided a shut-out when she held her serve but was still looking groggy in the early stages of the deciding set when Pavlyuchenkova had two break points at 1-1.
She saved both, one with an unreturnable forehand and the second with an ace, and proceeded to take control, completing a one hour 48 minute victory when she drilled a return to the feet of her dispirited opponent.
"Definitely toward the end of the third I started feeling better and moving better, and then I was able to play some longer points, so that's a good sign," Williams said.
She will have until Monday to recover for her next singles assignment when she takes on Israel's Shahar Peer.
(Editing by Miles Evans)