Serena Williams’s quest for a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam singles title was put on hold on Saturday after the former world number one was knocked out of the French Open in the third round following a 6-2 7-5 defeat by fellow American Sofia Kenin.
Chasing Margaret Smith Court’s all-time record, which was built over the amateur and professional eras, Williams failed to recover from a woeful opening set on Court Philippe Chatrier.
In the players’ first meeting, world number 35 Kenin pulled Williams around the court and made the most of her opponent’s unforced errors to set up a last-16 encounter with Australian eighth seed Ashleigh Barty.
“I’m so happy with this win – obviously you can tell with these emotions,” Kenin told the crowd through tears on Philippe Chatrier.
Serena was however not the only high profile player that was shown the door on Saturday, earlier defending champion Naomi Osaka’s extraordinary Grand Slam run of 16 consecutive victories was ended by a performance of extraordinary composure from unseeded Czech Katerina Siniakova.
Osaka has been a master escapologist this year at the French Open, but in Siniakova she finally found a lock she could not pick.
This was the singles world No 1 against the doubles world No 1 and it was 23-year-old Siniakova, ranked 42nd in singles, who won 6-4, 6-2 to reach the fourth round. She could yet follow up the doubles title she won her last year with the singles crown.
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