French Open - Serena, Venus ousted as Radwanska, Sharapova survive

It was the day when Serena and Venus Williams were supposed to re-ignite their grand slam rivalry by setting up a third round date but two young upstarts gatecrashed the family reunion at Roland Garros on Wednesday.

Reuters
French Open - Serena, Venus ousted as Radwanska, Sharapova survive
.

View photo

Venus, Sharapova, Serena (Reuters)

It was the day when Serena and Venus Williams were supposed to re-ignite their grand slam rivalry by setting up a third round date but two young upstarts gatecrashed the family reunion at Roland Garros on Wednesday.

Instead of facing each other across the net at one of the four majors for the first time since 2009, tennis' most famous sisters were left to console each other after their French Open title aspirations lay in tatters.

Holder and world No.1 Serena Williams did not know what hit her as she was shocked 6-2 6-2 by Spain's Garbine Muguruza, that defeat coming barely an hour after her elder sister Venus fell 2-6 6-3 6-4 to Slovakian teenager Anna Schmiedlova.

On a chilly day in Paris, Serena never looked the force who has won 17 major titles. Her 20-year-old opponent broke the American's serve twice early in the first set and made the most of a series of unforced errors by a leaden-footed Williams.

The Spaniard, ranked 35 in the world, did not release the pressure and the match became a repeat of the nightmare of 2012, when Williams lost in the first round, not the glory of 2013 when she beat Maria Sharapova in the final here.

A netted return from Williams sent the Spaniard into ecstasy and even Williams's mother, Oracene, smiled as Muguruza leapt about the court. "Of course, it's amazing," Muguruza said. "I had to be really aggressive and focused.

"Today is a great day. I'm so happy," the Spaniard shouted.

Later Muguruza told a news conference: "She (Serena) said that if I continue playing like this, I can win the tournament. I said: 'I will try, I will try'.

Serena was philosophical, saying: "I don't think anything worked for me today. It was just one of those days, you can't be on (your game) every day.

"It's not the end of the world, there's always next year."

After the defeat of China's Li Na in the first round on Tuesday, it is the first time since tennis turned professional in 1968 that the top two women's seeds have failed to reach the third round at a grand slam.

It is also the third time, after 2004 and 2008, that both Williams sisters have lost on the same day at the French Open.

Seventh seed Sharapova, in Serena's quarter of the draw, also had an off day against Tsvetana Pironkova but eventually prevailed 7-5 6-2 against the Bulgarian.

Agnieszka Radwanska beat Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic 6-3 6-4 and one ray of American sunshine among the clouds was Taylor Townsend, an 18-year-old playing in her first grand slam, who hung in there to beat Alize Cornet of France 6-4 4-6 6-4.

The Williams sisters third round showdown was knocked off the agenda when Venus was jettisoned out of the tournament.

The 29th seed, wearing long sleeves in temperatures of 14 Celsius, has never won the claycourt grand slam in 16 visits and, now 33, she may have to accept she never will.

Schmiedlova, aged 19 and ranked 56 in the world, wasted two match points on Venus's serve before the American hit wide to set up a third, and the Slovak clinched the match with a fine backhand cross court shot.

"This is the biggest win of my life," said Schmiedlova, who broke down when expressing how much Venus had meant to her when she was growing up.

Flavia Pennetta of Italy, seeded 12th, joined the Williams sisters in heading for the exit after going down 5-7 6-4 6-2 to Sweden's Johanna Larsson.

Sharapova looked frustrated with her own performance on a windy Philippe Chatrier court and she needed a heavy net cord in her favour on set point to take the first set.

Pironkova, who had a lengthy massage between the sets, stayed with the Russian until she was broken in the sixth game of the second, and Sharapova ended it in style by breaking her opponent in the final game.

French Open Women's round two matches on Wednesday

3-Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) beat Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) 6-3 6-4

Ajla Tomljanovic (Croatia) beat 32-Elena Vesnina (Russia) 7-6(6) 6-2

Taylor Townsend (U.S.) beat 20-Alize Cornet (France) 6-4 4-6 6-4

7-Maria Sharapova (Russia) beat Tsvetana Pironkova (Bulgaria) 7-5 6-2

Mona Barthel (Germany) beat 16-Sabine Lisicki (Germany) 6-1 3-0 (Lisicki retired)

19-Samantha Stosur (Australia) beat Yvonne Meusburger (Austria) 6-1 6-3

31-Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) beat Claire Feuerstein (France) 6-1 6-4

9-Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia) beat Tamira Paszek (Austria) 6-3 6-4

14-Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) beat Timea Bacsinszky (Switzerland) 7-5 1-6 6-4

8-Angelique Kerber (Germany) beat Varvara Lepchenko (U.S.) 6-2 7-5

Garbine Muguruza Blanco (Spain) beat 1-Serena Williams (U.S.) 6-2 6-2

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Slovakia) beat 29-Venus Williams (U.S.) 2-6 6-3 6-4

Johanna Larsson (Sweden) beat 12-Flavia Pennetta (Italy) 5-7 6-4 6-2

18-Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) beat Julia Goerges (Germany) 2-6 6-2 6-1

View comments (20)