Serena Williams joined the early exit rush on Wednesday at the French Open, going out in a shocking 6-2, 6-2 loss to Spaniard Garbine Muguruza. The world No. 1 came out flat, and has now failed to advance past the fourth round at her first two Slams of the year.
“I have a couple of words to describe [the year], but I think that would be really appropriate, so I’m going to leave it at that,” Serena said. “I love it here, but there’s always next year. At least I won’t have any points to defend.”
Coupled with Li Na’s loss, it was the earliest he top two women’s seeds have gone out at any Grand Slam in the Open Era.
Murguruza said she fought through nerves in the end to close it out.
“She said that if I continue playing like this, I can win the tournament,” the Spaniard said. “I said, ‘I will try, I will try.’”
Also exiting was Serena’s older sister Venus. The former No. 1 and No. 29 seed lost to Slovak Anna Schmiedlova 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
“She played really well, even the first set, she was competitive,” Venus said of the 19-year-old Schmiedova. “In the second and third sets I made too many errors, and she played so well and kept getting so many balls in the court.”
Top 10-seeded players through to the third round on Wednesday were No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska who defeated Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-4; No. 7 Maria Sharapova over Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 7-5, 6-2; No. 8 Angelique Kerber eliminating American Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 7-5; and No. 9 Dominika Cibulkova defeating qualifier Tamira Paszek of Austria 6-3, 6-4.
Other upset-minded players topping seeds were Swede Johanna Larsson coming from a set down to oust No. 12 Flavia Pennetta 5-7, 6-4, 6-2; German Mona Barthel advancing when No. 16 Sabine Lisicki retired with a wrist injury in the second set; Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic defeating No. 32 Elena Vesnina 7-6(6), 6-2; and American wildcard Taylor Townsend surprising No. 20 seed Alize Cornet 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
No. 14 Carla Suarez Navarro and No. 18 Eugenie Bouchard weathered three-set matches, while No. 19 Sam Stosur and No. 31 Daniela Hantuchova also advanced.
Things were much tamer on the men’s side as the five Top 10 seeds in action advanced, all avoiding any five-set exertion.
No. 2 Novak Djokovic eased past France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 6-4, 6-2; No. 4 Roger Federer out-hit Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-4, 6-4; No. 6 Tomas Berdych came from a set down to top Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3; No. 8 Milos Raonic out-served Czech Jiri Vesely 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-1; and No. 10 John Isner edged Mikhail Kukushkin 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 6-3, 7-6(4).
“I managed to play some good tennis and already feeling like I’m improving my game as the tournament progresses,” said Djokovic who improved to 22-0 in sets against Chardy. “I managed to make him play an extra shot. I managed to stay solid from the baseline and I think that forced him to make a lot of unforced errors, which definitely helped me to win in straight sets.”
Federer will next meet Russian Dmitry Tursunov.
“I think it was kind of tough all the way through for me,” Federer said of his match with Schwartzman, who pummeled the ball and stepped into the court throughout the meeting. “I didn’t feel relaxed for the entire match…He managed to put pressure on me and keep the pressure on me.”
Isner avoided a fifth set by clinching a fourth-set tiebreaker, the third in his match with Kukushkin.
“I wouldn’t say 100 percent pleased with how I played, but I’m 100 percent pleased that I’m through to the next round,” Isner said. “Definitely I have relied on my serve so much these first two rounds, which is fine, but I wish it didn’t have to be that way, so I’ve got to get better.”
Other seeds advancing were No. 13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 17 Tommy Robredo, No. 18 Ernests Gulbis, No. 22 Jerzy Janowicz, No. 25 Marin Cilic who beat Tobias Kamke 6-0 in the fourth, No. 27 Roberto Bautista, No. 29 Gilles Simon, and No. 31 Dmitry Tursunov.
Seeds not as lucky were No. 15 Mikhail Youzhny who was buried by Radek “The Worm” Stepanek in four sets, and No. 20 Alexandr Dolgopolov who blew a 2-0 set lead against Spaniard Marcel Granollers.
American Steve Johnson won the completion of his match from Tuesday with Laurent Lokoli, defeating the Frenchman 6-3 in the fifth set to set a meeting with countryman Jack Sock.
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