And with all due respect to Virginie Razzano, had Serena played the first two days, the American women would be 11-0.
That’s what I wrote in my post about the American women sprinting out to a 10-0 record in the first round of Roland Garros 2012. Apparently, I did not give Virginie Razzano quite the respect she was due! In perhaps the biggest upset in recent years on the WTA, Razzano earned what she called the greatest win of her career defeating the consensus tournament favorite Serena Williams, 4-6 7-6 (5) 6-3. Consider that Serena was 17-0 on clay this season coming into Roland Garros, including two almost embarrassingly easy wins over Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, the top 2 ranked players in the world. Consider that Serena has 13 Major victories in singles and 41 titles overall in singles while Virginie has 2 WTA victories, both coming a week apart in 2007. Consider that Serena came in as the tournament favorite while Razzano was ranked outside the top 100, at 111th. Consider that Serena had NEVER EVER lost in the first round of a Major before and I submit that I can’t think of an upset this big on the WTA in recent years. This was Douglas over Tyson.
Down a set and down 1-5 in the second set tiebreak, I was ready to call it a valiant, but losing, effort by Razzano. But the Frenchwoman rose to the occassion and won the tiebreak by stringing together 6 straight points. And she wasn’t done there. In front of her home crowd she blitzed out to a 5-0 lead in the third set. However, Serena would not meekly bow out. She won the next three games to put the pressure on Razzano to close it out at 5-3. Then came the game of tournament so far as Serena fought off 7 match points against her. For those who have watched Serena over the years, you had that feeling she was going to find a way to break Razzano again and somehow win the match. But Virginie would not let go and on the eighth match point Serena sailed a backhand just long and the Frenchwoman had the win of her life.
On the opposite side of the spectrum from Serena, Maria Sharapova absolutely crushed Alexandra Cadantu, 6-0 6-0, the dreaded double bagel. With Serena out of Roland Garros, the path to a career Grand Slam just became a bit easier for Masha. But that’s all relative. Easier, yes…but not easy. There are still a lot of players in the tournament capable of beating Sharapova, particularly Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova, Li Na and Victoria Azarenka. And as we were reminded with Razzano’s upset of Serena. It’s sports. Anything can happen. Anybody can win on a given day.
Singles – First Round
(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Alexandra Cadantu (ROU) 60 60
(4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (WC) Ashleigh Barty (AUS) 61 62
Virginie Razzano (FRA) d. (5) Serena Williams (USA) 46 76(5) 63
(9) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Eleni Daniilidou (GRE) 60 61
(14) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) 63 61
(16) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. (WC) Victoria Larrière (FRA) 61 62
(22) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Greta Arn (HUN) 64 64
(23) Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. Alexandra Panova (RUS) 63 63
(25) Julia Goerges (GER) d. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 76(1) 64
(28) Peng Shuai (CHN) d. Tamira Paszek (AUT) 64 63
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) d. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 36 60 63
Klara Zakopalova (CZE) d. Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 62 61
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. (WC) Aravane Rezai (FRA) 75 57 62
Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 63 41 ret. (lumbar spine injury)
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 64 63
Ayumi Morita (JPN) d. Polona Hercog (SLO) 36 64 63
Arantxa Rus (NED) d. Jamie Hampton (USA) 64 43 ret. (right low back injury)
Lourdes Domínguez Lino (ESP) d. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 75 75
Melinda Czink (HUN) d. Anne Keothavong (GBR) 61 62
(Q) Heather Watson (GBR) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 62 64