French Open notes: Top-seeded Serena Williams, sister Venus upset in second round

THURSDAY, MAY 29, 2014

Wind was whipping, rain was falling, and thick gray clouds overhead were foreboding as Serena Williams double-faulted, then raised her hands in despair and wailed, “I can’t serve!”

As if to prove the point, Williams double-faulted again moments later, before pushing a routine backhand wide to get broken at love.

Truth is, the French Open’s defending champion couldn’t do much properly on this particular afternoon, absorbing the most lopsided loss of her 288-match Grand Slam career. Unable to figure out how to get herself going or counter her unheralded opponent’s aggressive game, Williams was beaten 6-2, 6-2 Wednesday by 35th-ranked Garbine Muguruza of Spain in the second round.

Exactly one minute before Serena’s match began on Court Suzanne Lenglen, her older sister and 29th-seeded Venus’ 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 defeat against 56th-ranked Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia wrapped up in the main stadium.

Serena’s exit came a day after a loss by No. 2 Li Na, the first time in the Open era, which began in 1968, that the top two women were gone before the third round at any major tournament.

American teen advances

American teenager Taylor Townsend reached the third round in her Grand Slam debut by beating 20th-seeded Alize Cornet of France 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

The 18-year-old Townsend is ranked 205th but earned a wild card from the U.S. Tennis Association based on her results during a series of lower-level tournaments this spring.

She’s the youngest U.S. woman in the third round at Roland Garros since 2003. Next up is No. 14 Carla Suarez Navarro.

Advancing seeds

Seventh-seeded Maria Sharapova advanced to the third round by beating Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 7-5, 6-2. Sharapova won the French Open title two years ago and lost to Serena Williams in last year’s final. … Second-seeded Novak Djokovic moved into the third round with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory over 42nd-ranked Jeremy Chardy. Djokovic is trying to become the eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam. … Fourth-seeded Roger Federer moved into the third round by beating Argentine qualifier Diego Sebastian Schwartzman 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Federer has not reached a Grand Slam final since 2012.

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