Photo: Paul ZimmerSerena Williams (USA)
DAY 3: Serena Williams crashed out of Roland Garros late on Tuesday night as Virginie Razzano, the French No. 6 and world No. 111, came from behind to inflict the American’s first ever defeat in the opening round at a Grand Slam.
In a match of high drama, both players found themselves in winning positions before Razzano finally closed out the biggest win of her career 46 76(5) 63 on Court Philippe Chatrier amid wild celebrations from the French fans.
Razzano gifted Williams the first set with a double fault, and when the 13-time Grand Slam champion led 5-1 in the second set tiebreak it looked like she was heading for victory, but her lower ranked opponent had other ideas.
With relentless big hitting from the baseline, Razzano reeled off six straight points to force a decider and continued the momentum by racing into a 5-0 lead, only to see Williams dig deep to reduce the deficit to 5-3.
The final game was simply a classic, lasting 20 minutes and 30 points. Williams failed to convert any of her five break points and Razzano, who was suffering badly with cramps, eventually held serve on her eighth match point to book her spot in the second round.
“It's incredible for me to win today (against) Serena Williams,” said Razzano. “It's I think merite. I don't know the same name in English, merite. For me it's a good comeback and a big enjoy to beat Serena today because it was a tough match and very difficult to go far in the physical and mental.”
The 29-year-old’s reward is a second round clash with Arantxa Rus, who benefitted from a retirement when Jamie Hampton pulled out of their match with the score standing at 64 4-3 in the Dutch player’s favour.
“It didn't work out today,” said Williams, who was many people’s tip for the title after coming into the tournament unbeaten on clay in 2012. “I made so many errors today which isn't the game that I've been playing in the past. That's it. That's life.”
The other top seeds in the women’s event had no such trouble with Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and former Roland Garros winner Francesca Schiavone all progressing with easy straight sets victories.
The reigning champion in the men’s event, Rafael Nadal, began his title defence in impressive fashion by dispatching Simone Bolelli 62 62 61. The Spaniard, who is chasing a record breaking seventh Roland Garros title, faces Denis Istomin in the next round.
Andy Murray shrugged off any injury concerns during his 61 75 60 victory over Tatsuma Ito, while there were also wins for David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro, Juan Monaco, Janko Tipsarevic and Richard Gasquet.
Follow all action from Paris on the official tournament website: RolandGarros.com