Serena Williams lost in the third round of the French Open on Saturday, in a surprising upset that saw her defeated by American player Sofia Kenin.
Kenin, 20, beat the tennis legend in a 6-2, 7-5 upset. ESPN reports that the defeat marked Williams’ earliest loss at a major tournament in five years, since 2014’s Wimbledon.
“She played really well,” Williams, 37, said of Kenin, according to ESPN. “I feel like she, in that first set in particular, hit pretty much inches from the line. I hadn’t played anyone like that in a long time… She just played, literally, unbelievable. She really went out there today and did great.”
The 23-time Grand Slam winner has previously won the French Open on three occasions: in 2002, 2013 and 2015.
“It’s a lot of emotions,” Kenin said after the match, according to the New York Times. “Serena is such a great player and a true champion.”
Kenin was born in Russia, but moved to the United States shortly after she was born. In the next round of the French Open, she’ll face Australian player Ashleigh Barty.
Williams beat Vitalia Diatchenko and Kurumi Nara in the first and second rounds of the tournament, respectively. Over the past year, she’s dealt with numerous injuries and had to withdraw from multiple tournaments, including the Miami Open.
“I am glad I came,” she said. “I love the city. I love the tournament. I really wanted to be here. I’m glad I came. But it’s just been a really grueling season for me.”
Tennis star Naomi Osaka, who beat Williams and picked up her first major title at the 2018 U.S. Open, was also defeated in the third round of the French Open, losing to Czech player Katerina Siniakova.
Source: Helen Murphy