[QODLink]
Tennis
Serena crashes out at French Open
American loses in the first round of the French Open to home crown favourite in her worst major-tournament performance.
Last Modified: 30 May 2012 12:33
'There is no excuse' offered Williams after the game, blaming errors for her shock exit [GALLO/GETTY]

Serena Williams lost in the first round of a major tournament for the first time in her career, falling to Virginie Razzano of France 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 on Tuesday at the French Open.

The fifth-seeded Williams was two points from victory nine times in the second set, including leading 5-1 in the tiebreaker.

But Razzano won six straight points to force a third set, and then took control of the match.

"I made so many errors today, which isn't the game I was playing in the past,"' Williams said. "That's life."

Williams entered the day with a 46-0 record in first-round matches at Grand Slam tournaments. She had been looking for her 14th major title, and second at Roland Garros.

On clay this year, Williams was 17-0 heading into the match with two titles. But she pulled out of her last match in the semifinals of the Italian Open with a bad back.

"I didn't feel anything abnormal,'' Williams said when asked Tuesday about her back. "I was 100 percent healthy."

Epic game

Razzano jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third set, but Williams won three straight games before what turned out to be an epic, 23-minute ninth game. Williams had five break points in that final game.

"I was just thinking, if I can break here we'll be back on serve,'' Williams said. "You know, those are the kind of things that are going through your head.''

Razzano saved all five, however, and then converted her eighth match point to eliminate one of the tournament favourites.

"I had to dig deep against a great champion and you could see until the end that she gave away nothing,'' Razzano said. "I had to go and get the victory. I had to be mentally strong, and I gave my everything."

Razzano's coach and fiancé, Stephane Vidal, passed away about a week before last year's French Open.

Razzano played anyway, and lost in the first round.

Earlier, Rafael Nadal began his quest for a record seventh French Open title in style, wearing a pink shirt and pink shoelaces. He won easily, too.

The second-seeded Spaniard had little trouble against Simone Bolelli of Italy, winning 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 on Court Philippe Chatrier - the same stadium where Nadal has won six of his 10 Grand Slam titles.

Record improved

Nadal, who is tied with Bjorn Borg with six French Open titles, improved his record to 46-1 at Roland Garros.

His only loss came in the fourth round in 2009, against Robin Soderling.

He's not worried about the record just yet, though.

"We are in the second round,'' Nadal said. "I have enough work to do thinking about the next round, and not think about if Bjorn will be here or if I'm going to play the final. That's day-by-day and we'll see.''

Against Bolelli, Nadal made only 18 unforced errors, fewer than half as many as his opponent. From 2-2 in the first set, Nadal won eight straight games to take control.

"I think I did what I had to do today,'' Nadal said. "I played probably with less stress or nerves than in other first rounds in the past.''

And after a short blip in the second set, Nadal won eight of the last nine games.

"I tried to play aggressive with the forehand, with the serve, but today I miss a lot,'' Bolelli said. "He's strong. I mean, I didn't have a chance to make the match even.''

Fourth-seeded Andy Murray also advanced, beating Tatsuma Ito of Japan 6-1, 7-5, 6-0. Maria Sharapova was nearly perfect in her match, winning all 12 games to produce a ``double bagel.''

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The conservative UMP party suffers from crippling internal divisions and extreme debt from mismanagement.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
join our mailing list