Kenin stuns Serena in straight units at French

PARIS — Serena Williams’ quest for a 24th Grand Slam title ended along with her earliest loss at a significant event in 5 years.

Williams was outplayed within the third spherical of the French Open by 20-year-old American Sofia Kenin, who used clear, deep groundstrokes to place collectively the 6-2, 7-5 upset Saturday.

“She performed rather well,” Williams mentioned. “I really feel like she, in that first set particularly, hit just about inches from the road. I hadn’t performed anybody like that in a very long time. … She simply performed, actually, unbelievable. She actually went on the market at this time and did nice.”

The final time Williams was eradicated this rapidly at a significant got here in 2014, when she misplaced within the second spherical at Roland Garros to Garbine Muguruza and within the third spherical at Wimbledon to Alize Cornet.

Since these early-for-her defeats, Williams had received six of the 14 majors she entered to surpass Steffi Graf’s professional-era report of 22 Grand Slam singles championships. With 23, Williams stands one away from Margaret Court docket’s mark for probably the most in tennis historical past; Court docket performed in each the skilled and beginner eras.

Williams, who’s 37, sat out 4 Slams in 2017-18 whereas she was off the tour to have a child. Her first main event again was final 12 months’s French Open, the place she withdrew earlier than a fourth-round match due to a chest muscle damage. She went on to succeed in the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open earlier than losing match factors throughout a quarterfinal loss on the Australian Open.

Williams got here to Paris having performed solely 4 matches since then; she withdrew from two tournaments due to an injured left knee and from one other due to sickness.

“I’m glad I got here,” Williams mentioned. “I like the town. I like the event. I actually needed to be right here. I am glad I got here. However it’s simply been a extremely grueling season for me.”

Williams struggled via her opening match on the French Open, which she has received thrice, and once more towards the 35th-ranked Kenin, who by no means earlier than had made it to the spherical of 16 at a significant.

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However Kenin performed fairly effectively, by no means displaying a hint of nerves. It was Williams whose strokes have been off-target: Her 34 unforced errors have been twice as many as Kenin’s whole. And Kenin broke Williams 4 instances, whereas solely ceding certainly one of her personal service video games regardless of Williams having six break level alternatives.

It was solely the third tour-level loss by Williams to an American participant youthful than her in 42 profession matches at any event. Kenin joined Sloane Stephens (2013) and Madison Brengle (2017) in that membership.

It was the second important shock in a matter of hours: Earlier within the day, No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka was eradicated 6-Four, 6-2 by 42nd-ranked Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic to finish Osaka’s 16-match Grand Slam profitable streak.

ESPN Stats & Info and The Related Press contributed to this report.

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