No sooner had Serena Williams claimed she was the No. 1 player in the world, instead of the computer-chosen Russian Dinara Safina, and the American was sitting on the sidelines, stunned by an opening-round loss on red clay early Wednesday morning in Rome.
The match ended in the early-morning hours as the competitors didn’t take to the court until after 11 p.m. Schnyder had won their two previous meetings on clay, and easily raced through the opening set. Williams countered by easily winning the second set, but in the third it was all Schnyder, capitalizing on the American’s unforced errors for a 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 win.
William’s has lost three consecutive matches following the Miami final (lost to Victoria Azarenka) and first round at Marbella (lost to Klara Zakopalova).
“Well, we all know who the real No. 1 is,” Williams said Monday in response to a question regarding her world No. 2 standing and Safina’s top spot. “Quite frankly, I’m the best in the world.”
On a rainy day in Rome, No. 13 Alize Cornet was ousted by Kateryna Bondarenko.
Jelena Jankovic navigated the rain delays to get by Gisela Dulko 6-3, 7-6(6).
“It’s difficult when it rains and then you have to stop and focus again, especially when you stop at 5-5,” said Jankovic, who next faces Bondarenko in the third round. “It was very important for me to start well from the first point, because I needed to win that second set — if you go into the third anything can happen. I would be very tired as well and I complicate my life out there, so I came out and I tried to do my best after that, and I’m happy that I was able to win.”
True world No. 1 Dinara Safina was a straight-set winner over Virginie Razzano.
“She’d played already [in the first round] and she beat me at the beginning of the year, so I doubly wanted to beat her,” said Safina after her 7-6(6), 6-1 win. “I was a little bit tight, but winning the first set gave me confidence. I started to play a little bit better in the second. I was a little more aggressive.”
No. 11 seed Marion Bartoli was also an upset victim, losing to Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-1, 7-5.
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