World number one Serena Williams claimed that she just had “one of those days” as the reasoning for her shock exit in the second round of the French Open today.
The American was convincingly beaten 6-2, 6-2 by Spanish world number 35 Garbine Muguruza, who managed to break last year’s champion’s serve four times to love on the way to a 64-minute victory.
She had been hoping to win her 18th Grand Slam title, which would have put her joint fourth on the all-time list alongside Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
But the 32-year-old did not make excuses for her surprise defeat, and congratulated her opponent on a momentous win.
"It was one of those days,” she told reporters at the post-match press conference.
“You can't be on every day, and, gosh, I hate to be off during a grand slam but it happens. It's not the end of the world.
"I think she played really well and she played really smart. It's great because I'm going to go home and work five times as hard to make sure I never lose again.
Muguruza, who is now just two wins away from reaching her first Grand Slam quarter-final of her career, was pleased with her performance, and revealed that Serena talked up her chances of even winning the tournament when the two shook hands after the match.
The Spanish number two said: "(Serena) said that if I continue playing like this, I can win the tournament. I said, 'I will try, I will try’.
“I really didn't expect that but I'm really happy. I had to be aggressive and I did it well. Serena is a great champion but today is a great day for me."
It was a devastating day of tennis for the Williams family, as Serena’s sister Venus was also knocked out of the tournament on Wednesday.
The 29th seed lost to Slovakian Anna Schmiedlova 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Philippe Chatrier Court, just hours before her sibling was dispatched on Suzanne Lenglen Court.
It marked the first time that both sisters have been knocked out on the same day of a Grand Slam since 2011, when both were beaten in the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Roland Garros has proved to be the least successful Grand Slam for the Williams sisters, as their games are not as naturally suited to a clay court surface as they are to other surfaces, though both sisters have won the title on one occasion.
Serena’s loss came as the latest in a series of shock results that have occurred in both the men’s and women’s draw, as both of this year’s Australian Open singles champions were knocked out in the first three days of the tournament, with men’s third seed Stanislas Wawrinka and women’s second seed Li Na both being sent home early.
Li’s second round loss to Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, coupled with Serena Williams’ loss, means that third seed Agnieszka Radwanska is now the highest ranked woman left in the draw, and Maria Sharapova has now emerged as a leading contender to win the tournament.
Serena came into this year’s tournament as defending champion, and her premature exit means that no woman has managed to successfully defend the title since Belgian Justine Henin in 2007.
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