Serena Williams leaves Roland Garros after straight set loss to Elena Rybakina
Serena Williams is absent from the French Open after a straight-set loss to 21-year-old Elena Rybakina in the fourth round at Roland Garros.
The loss ends Williams’ quest to add to her 23 Grand Slam titles, after Rybakina of Kazakhstan claimed a chic 6-3, 7-5 victory.
Although disappointed to leave Roland Garros, Williams knows her best chance to add to her historic Grand Slam total is on faster surfaces later in the year.
“I’m in a much better place than when I first came here,” she said.
“You know I was literally trying to win a game because it had been a very difficult season for me on clay.
“And although I love clay, I was, like, if I could just win a game.
“I’m pretty excited to change surfaces. Historically, I’ve done pretty well on grass.”
Williams’ exit came just hours after Roger Federer has withdrawn from the tournament.
After winning a hard fight third round victory over Dominik Koepfer in a four-set contest that ended at 1 a.m., Federer said he needed to recover in time for a tilt at Wimbledon later in the month.
“After discussions with my team, I decided that I had to withdraw from Roland-Garros today”, Federer said in a statement.
“After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation, it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure that I don’t push myself too quickly on the road to recovery.
“I’m delighted to have had three games under my belt. There’s no better feeling than being back on the pitch.”
Williams’ exit leaves this half of the women’s table wide open.
Of the four remaining players in the quarter-finals in Williams’ half of the draw, only Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova made it past the fourth round of a Grand Slam.
Pavlyuchenkova came from behind to claim a straight set victory over Victoria Azarenka in the round of 16 and will face Rybakina in the quarterfinals.
The other quarter-final on this side of the draw will see Tamara Zidansek take on Paola Badosa.
The only seeds remaining in the women’s standings are defending champion Iga Swiatek (8) and Sofia Kenin (4).
Swiatek faces Marta Kostyuk in the fourth round, while Kenin faces 17th seed Maria Sakkari.