• French Open, Day Three

Serena shocker after dramatic French Open collapse

ESPN staff
May 29, 2012 « Anderson and Swann 'as good as' McGrath and Warne | Chartbeat test »

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Serena Williams suffered one of the all-time French Open collapses as she plummeted out at the first-round stage against world No. 111 Virginie Razzano on Tuesday.

Williams, the 2002 champion at Roland Garros, had been heavily fancied to go deep into the second week after a strong clay-court season to date. However, after she moved within two points of victory at 5-1 in the second-set tiebreaker, she broke down in spectacular fashion to lose 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3.

The former world No. 1 had looked out of sorts for much of the match against Razzano, consistently struggling to put a string of winners together, as is her trademark. Williams came into the match in great form but that did not translate to the Paris clay, with her movement awkward and her rhythm frustrating.

However, she still had enough to claim the first set, breaking three times to Razzano's two in a period of tennis that nevertheless clearly displayed a lack of control in Williams' game.

The second set was a gruelling battle of wills, but Williams looked set to close out victory when 5-1 ahead in the tiebreaker. It was at that point that the disintegration began, with Razzano rattling off six straight points to force the match into a third set, leaving Williams in tears at the changeover.

The concern was there for all to see in the Williams camp, who could see their charge in pieces but were unable to do anything about it. Razzano took full advantage and, roared on by the thrilled home crowd, she raced into a 5-0 advantage in the third.

Williams committed over 40 unforced errors in the match, but credit also had to go to her rival who fired a series of breathtaking winners to increase the intensity on the American.

Serving for the match at 5-1, Razzano lost her nerve for the first time, broken by a player scrapping for her survival in the competition. Her cause was not helped by the umpire, who penalised her for excessive grunting.

That same situation took place again with Razzano serving for the match at 5-3, as the umpire granted Williams break point due to her rival's noises. Razzano still managed to get to match point, which she wasted with a double-fault, and she then had to produce a desperate backhand to save a break chance for Williams.

In the end Razzano closed out the match at the eighth time of asking, after saving two more break points, completing the shock result of the tournament as Williams was sent crashing out.

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