Virginie Razzano upset Serena Williams in the French Open, sending the American to her earliest exit from a Grand Slam tennis tournament, and Rafael Nadal won to open his bid for a record seventh men’s title.
France’s Razzano won 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 at Roland Garros in Paris in three hours and three minutes. She rallied from 5-1 down in a tiebreaker to force the third set, which she won on her eighth match point.
“It’s incredible to win today against Serena Williams,” Razzano said in a news conference. “For me, it’s a good comeback. It was a tough match and very difficult physically and mentally.”
Defending champion Nadal, the second seed from Spain, defeated Italy’s Simone Bolelli 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. The left-hander is now 46-1 at Roland Garros, his only loss coming in the fourth round in 2009.
“I felt really comfortable,” Nadal, who equaled Bjorn Borg’s record of six French titles last year, said in a news conference. “I think it’s one of my best first rounds for me. I hope that in two days, I’ll play even better.”
Maria Sharapova of Russia and Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic advanced to the second round of the year’s second major championship, as did men’s fourth seed Andy Murray of Britain.
Razzano is ranked 106 places below No. 5 Williams, whose previous earliest major loss was a second-round defeat to her sister Venus at the 1998 Australian Open. Williams had a 17-0 record on clay this year, the longest women’s run on the surface since Belgium’s Justine Henin won 27 straight over the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
“The whole match, I just didn’t play at all the way I have been practicing,” Williams said in a news conference. “It is disappointing, but it’s life.”
Second-seeded Sharapova routed Alexandra Cadantu of Romania 6-0, 6-0. The three-time Grand Slam champion, seeking her first French Open title, needed 48 minutes for victory.
“Nothing is ever easy because you have to face whoever is across the net,” Sharapova, who lost 18 points in the match, told reporters. “No matter how good or how bad they’re playing, you still have to win that match. That was just my goal today.”
Wimbledon champion Kvitova, the fourth seed, beat Australian Ashleigh Barty 6-1, 6-2. No. 9 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark defeated Eleni Danilidou of Greece 6-0, 6-1, and No. 14 Francesca Schiavone of Italy, the 2010 champion and last year’s runnerup, defeated Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan 6-3, 6-1.
Williams, 30, was the second American woman eliminated today. Jamie Hampton retired following treatment on her back while trailing Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands 4-6, 3-4. Ten U.S. women reached the second round, the most in nine years in Paris.
Murray, seeking to become the first British man to win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry in 1936, moved on with a 6-1, 7-5, 6-0 win against Japan’s Tatsuma Ito, and No. 6 David Ferrer of Spain beat Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.
“The first and third sets were very comfortable,” Murray told reporters. “The second set could have been, but I played one bad game. For a first-round match in a slam, it’s a good start.”
Janko Tipsarevic, the eighth seed from Serbia, defeated Sam Querrey of the U.S., while No. 16 Alexandr Dolgopolov lost to fellow Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky in five sets.
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