Another day, another surprising upset in the 2014 French Open. Only this time, a No. 1 player went down in Roland Garros.
Serena Williams came into Paris as the No. 1 seed and defending champion, but Garbine Muguruza was too much for the 17-time Grand Slam winner, advancing 6-2, 6-2 in straight sets. Williams' loss came shortly after watching her sister Venus fall to 19-year-old Anna Schmiedlova.
Along with both Williams sisters, No. 12 Flavia Pennetta was also sent packing after losing the final two sets of her match against Johanna Larsson. Pennetta might not have been a serious contender, but was expected to advance past the second round on Wednesday.
On the men's side, No. 15 Mikhail Youzhny was embarrassed in the first set and ultimately fell to Radek Stepanek, 6-0, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Superior players like No. 2 Novak Djokovic and No. 4 Roger Federer both cruised to convincing wins into the third round of play.
Let's take a look at all of the notable action from Day 4 of the French Open and a breakdown of the most prominent matches from Wednesday.
Day 4 Men's Results
|No. 29 Gilles Simon def. Alejandro Gonzalez||6-4, 6-0, 6-2|
|No. 27 Roberto Bautista Agut def. Benoit Paire||6-4, 7-6(4), 6-2|
|No. 18 Ernests Gulbis def. Facundo Bagnis||6-2, 7-5, 6-0|
|Radek Stepanek def. No. 15 Mikhail Youzhny||6-0, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4|
|Marcel Granollers def. No. 20 Alexandr Dolgopolov||1-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-2|
|No. 2 Novak Djokovic def. Jeremy Chardy||6-1, 6-4, 6-2|
|No. 8 Milos Raonic def. Jiri Vesely||7-6(4), 6-4, 6-1|
|No. 31 Dmitry Tursunov def. Sam Querrey||6-4, 7-5, 6-1|
|No. 4 Roger Federer def. Diego Schwartzman||6-3, 6-4, 6-4|
|No. 6 Tomas Berdych def. Aleksandr Nedovyesov||6(4)-7, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3|
|No. 13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def. Jurgen Melzer||6-2, 6-3, 6-4|
|No. 17 Tommy Robredo def. Kenny De Schepper||6-2, 6-3, 6-3|
Day 4 Women's Results
|Anna Schmiedlova def. No. 29 Venus Williams||2-6, 6-3, 6-4|
|Garbine Muguruza def. No. 1 Serena Williams||6-2, 6-2|
|Johanna Larsson def. No. 12 Flavia Pennetta||5-7, 6-4, 6-2|
|No. 18 Eugenie Bouchard def. Julia Goerges||2-6, 6-2, 6-1|
|No. 31 Daniela Hantuchova def. Claire Feuerstein||6-1, 6-4|
|No. 8 Angelique Kerber def. Varvara Lepchenko||6-2, 7-5|
|No. 19 Samantha Stosur def. Yvonne Meusburger||6-1, 6-3|
|No. 9 Dominika Cibulkova def. Tamira Paszek||6-3, 6-4|
|Mona Barthel def. No. 16 Sabine Lisicki||6-1, 3-0 (ret.)|
|No. 14 Carla Suarez Navarro def. Timea Bacsinszky||7-5, 1-6, 6-4|
|No. 7 Maria Sharapova def. Tsvetana Pironkova||7-5, 6-2|
|Taylor Townsend def. No. 20 Alize Cornet||6-4, 4-6, 6-4|
Defending Champion Serena Williams Eliminated
Even after Li Na was downed on Tuesday, a shocking upset of the No. 1 player in the second round was certainly not expected. On top of that, Williams lost in straight sets while only winning a total of four games against the 20-year-old Muguruza.
Coming in as the defending champion at Roland Garros, Williams was simply routed by an inferior opponent after a shaky start in the first round. Chris Chase of USA Today notes just how historic the loss was for Williams:
Serena Williams didn’t just lose on Wednesday at the French Open, she suffered the worst loss of her Grand Slam career to a player who had never won a set against a player ranked in the top eight.
Garbine Muguruza of Spain routed the world No. 1 and reigning champion 6-2, 6-2, giving Serena her first second-round defeat at a major since the 1998 Australian Open, when she lost to big sister Venus in her first-ever Grand Slam appearance.
Following Williams' loss, the top two seeds losing also made history in Grand Slam history, according to the WTA:
The 32-year-old was never able to gain any ground throughout the match, but she didn't make any excuses for her play either. Following the disappointing loss, Williams told reporters, per Chase, "It was one of those days."
Williams had her serve broken five times against Muguruza and found herself heading home much earlier than anticipated. When the two players met at the court, the Williams gave Muguruza encouragement moving forward, per Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times:
Garbine Muguruza says that Serena told her at the net that if she keeps playing like that, she can win the tournament. #RG14— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 28, 2014
After coming in as the world No. 1, Williams joins Li on the plane back from Paris. As for the likely favorite remaining, No. 7 Maria Sharapova might just be the one to watch in the women's bracket.
Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer Advance to Third Round
Two of the most superior players in the men's game took to the court and, unlike the previous days in Paris, both walked off unscathed.
Both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer come into the French Open teeming with confidence. For Djokovic, the Serbian is in search of the final major tournament to complete a career Grand Slam.
The 27-year-old is the believed co-favorite with Rafael Nadal in Paris, as Roland Garros attempts to settle the debate:
What the Djoker did on Day 4 of the tournament was simply crush Jeremy Chardy. Nole has never lost a set to Chardy over the course of his career, and he continued that streak on Wednesday with a straight-sets victory.
Brad Gilbert of Brad Gilbert Tennis provides his thoughts on the lopsided triumph for Djokovic:
Djoker is just clinical right now the way he is crushing Chardonnay Chardy, this was a blowout from the 1st ball— Brad Gilbert (@bgtennisnation) May 28, 2014
As for Federer, he clinched a historic win at Roland Garros in a straight-sets victory over Diego Schwartzman. The No. 4 player in the world won his 60th match at the historic French venue, making him the first man to win 60 in every Grand Slam, per ATP.
While Djokovic made his win look simple, the ATP report also passes along Federer's thoughts on his second-round victory:
“I think it was kind of tough all the way through for me," Federer said. "I didn't feel relaxed for the entire match ... He managed to put pressure on me and keep the pressure on me.”
Both players now move forward to the third round and might ultimately play one another for the right to reach the final. With each member of the elite class of men's tennis still involved in the tournament, including Nadal and Andy Murray, all four will likely play a huge part in the champion in Paris.
As Federer looks for victory No. 61, Djoker is simply looking for title No. 1 at Roland Garros as the tournament moves forward. If both continue to play at the intensity they've shown thus far, any player in their path might simply be carnage on the court by the end of the French Open.
Venus Williams, Mikhail Youzhny Also Ousted Early
The elder Williams sister went up a set at the start of the match but couldn't overcome Schmiedlova in the final two sets. ESPN Stats & Info notes just how rare the loss of both Williams sisters on the same day is:
The last time both Serena and Venus Williams lost on the same day at a Grand Slam event was in 2011 in the Wimbledon Round of 16.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 28, 2014
Who should be the new favorite on the women's side?
Though her loss was less surprising than her younger sister's defeat, Williams still came away with at least one set win.
On the men's side, Youzhny's loss was surprising only in the sense that he came out extremely flat in the opening set. The No. 15 player in the world was unable to win a single game in the first set and only won just a single frame throughout the match.
Neither player was exactly expected to come away with a win in the tournament, but neither was expected to be gone before the third round of play, either. As with the rest of the French Open thus far, nothing can be expected with any certainty at Roland Garros.
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