Serena, Venus out of French Open
Serena Williams stunned after her first opening-round loss in a Grand Slam; sister Venus falls to Poland's Radwanska
Twelve months ago, Virginie Razzano arrived at Roland Garros mourning her fiance who died just five days before the tournament started. On Tuesday, she opened a new emotional chapter in her French Open story when she sent 13-time Grand Slam title winner Serena Williams crashing to her first ever loss in an opening round at a Grand Slam.
Such was the challenge that the 29-year-old, ranked 111 in the world, couldn’t sleep for three nights before the match. It was a clash which had looked like a routine victory for the American when she led by a set and 5-1 in the second set tiebreaker, but through sheer willpower became a memorable 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 victory for Razzano. Adding to the drama and tension was the 29-year-old needing an eighth match point to finish proceedings in a marathon ninth game of the final set after three hours of action on a spellbound Philippe Chatrier court.
“I did my mourning,” said Razzano, as she reflected on the events of a year ago when her coach and fiance Stephane Vidal passed away at the age of just 32. “It took time, but I worked with somebody and I felt I was ready to live my life both professionally and personally again. Was it destiny for me to win tonight? I don’t know but I wanted to win so much,” she added.
The loss was the 30-year-old Williams’ first exit at the opening round stage of her 47-event Grand Slam career and earliest defeat at a major since she was knocked out of the Australian Open second round by sister Venus in 1998. “I was cramping at the end but I knew I could beat her. I said ‘don’t give up’. I couldn’t sleep properly for three nights before the match,” added Razzano. “I even watched Serena on Google and YouTube. I kept telling myself that when I step on court I could do it, I could win.” Meanwhile, Venus Williams also fell in the first round after losing to Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 2-6, 3-6.
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi advanced to the second round in mixed doubles event after notching up straight-set victories in the first round. The fifth seed Indo-Russian pair of Paes and Elena Vesnina routed Czech Republic’s Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak 6-1 6-1. In another mixed doubles match, Bhupathi and Sania Mirza overcame the opening round challenge with a 6-2 6-4 triumph over American pair of Raquel Kops-Jones and Eric Butorac.