Three-time champion Serena Williams was yesterday stunned in the French Open third round by unseeded American Sofia Kenin. Williams, 37, was seeded 10th but lost 6-2 7-5 to her 20-year-old compatriot, who was at times booed by the crowd.
The defeat means Williams’ quest to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles continues.
“I’m so happy with this win – obviously you can tell with these emotions,” a crying Kenin told the crowd on Philippe Chatrier. “Playing against Serena, you have to fight for every point.”
Williams’ defeat followed the shock exit by world number one Naomi Osaka a few hours earlier and leaves only three top-10 players in the women’s draw.
Earlier in the day, defending champion Simona Halep enjoyed a straightforward 55-minute victory, beating Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko 6-2 6-1 to reach the last 16.
World number 35 Kenin will play Australian eighth seed Ashleigh Barty in the fourth round, while Halep faces unseeded 18-year-old French Open debutant Iga Swiatek.
Meanwhile Osaka says her French Open exit was “probably the best thing that could have happened” and that she was suffering headaches from the “stress” of being the top seed.
Her bid for a third Grand Slam in a row ended with a 6-4 6-2 third-round defeat by unseeded Czech Katerina Siniakova.
The US Open and Australian Open champion was playing in her first Grand Slam as world number one.
“I feel like there has been a weight on me,” the Japanese 21-year-old said.
“In this tournament I have had a feeling that was different to the other Grand Slam tournaments. Usually, I find it very freeing and fun but this time I was kind of tense the entire time.
“I think I was overthinking this calendar Slam.”
Osaka became the world’s leading player after following up her maiden Grand Slam win at September’s US Open with victory at the Australian Open in January.