Let me be clear about something. I know that the terre batue of Roland Garros doesn’t quite suit the game of Venus Williams. The elder of the two Williams sisters has never won the singles title here. She hasn’t been past the 2nd round in Paris since 2010, not as far as the quarterfinals since 2006. Add in that she faced the dangerous up and coming American Sloane Stephens in round one and it’s not surprising that Venus exits the women’s singles of Roland Garros 2015 after her opening match. That said, it was still disappointing to see such a great champion of the game dismissed so early, especially after a promising quarterfinal run at the Australian Open earlier this year that took a herculean effort by another up and coming American, Madison Keys, to halt. I thought maybe Venus could turn back the clock and make a run to a marquee fourth round match-up with either her sister Serena or, if Victoria Azarenka pulls a third round upset, fellow former #1 Vika. Instead, the unseeded Sloane Stephens ended those dreams with a convincing 7-6 (5) 6-1 over the 15th seeded Venus.
Another great champion fell on day two as Agnieszka Radwanska continued to struggle with her game. To illustrate how far she’s fallen, one year ago she was the 3rd seed in women’s singles in Paris. This year she has plummeted to the 14th seed and seems on her way to dropping even more if she doesn’t turn things around. A short-lived coaching hire of Martina Navratilova didn’t pan out. Save for a semifinal appearance at Katowice, it’s mostly been two or three matches and out in most events for Aga in 2015. At Roland Garros, 21-year old Annika Beck didn’t even let Radwanska get that far as she bounced her out of Roland Garros 2015 in the first round, 6-2 3-6 6-1. Don’t be fooled by the three set score. It really wasn’t that close. Annika was in control for the majority of the match. I didn’t like Aga’s body language throughout the contest. She just looked lost out there. I don’t know what Radwanska needs to get out of this tail spin. I realize that Roland Garros isn’t Aga’s best event. She’s only reached one quarterfinal in her entire career. But a first round exit to Annika Beck? With all due respect to Annika, this is still a major upset. Perhaps a run on the grass at Wimbledon will cure what ails Aga.
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2 MARIA SHARAPOVA (won 6-2 6-4 vs Kaia Kanepi)
8 CARLA SUAREZ NAVARRO (won 6-2 6-2 vs Monica Niculescu)
11 ANGELIQUE KERBER (won 6-0 6-1 vs Timea Babos)
ANNIKA BECK (won 6-2 3-6 6-1 vs 14 Agnieszka Radwanska)
SLOANE STEPHENS (won 7-6 (5) 6-1 vs 15 Venus Williams)