Serena Williams will have to wait for Wimbledon to tie Margaret Smith Court’s record for the most major titles won all-time by a female tennis player. On Saturday, Serena Williams, the number 10 seed at Roland Garros, was upset by another American.
The player who shocked Serena on clay, was 20 year-old Sofia Kenin, who interestingly is not an American native as she was born in Moscow, Russia. Kenin, who moved to the United States shortly after her birth, is the lastest prodigy of the great Florida-based coaching legend, Nick Bollettieri.
On Saturday, Kenin not just beat Williams, but beat her in straight sets, 6-2, 7-5. Despite firing zero aces compared to Williams’s 10, Kenin was able to break Serena four times en route to the victory. Another major reason for Williams’s unexpected defeat on Saturday was the fact she had 34 unforced errors, while Kenin only had 17.
Kenin was also extremely well rested heading into her match against Williams, who is a three-time French Open champion. Kenin had not played since Monday when she beat Italian Giulia Gatto-Monticone of Italy, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 in the first round. Kenin was supposed to play the 22nd ranked Canadian and Indian Wells champion Bianca Andreescu on Thursday in second round action, but Andreescu had to pull out with a reoccurring shoulder injury she has had since winning the premier mandatory event in March.
Kenin is one of four American women left in the main draw. That is an impressive number considering American women traditionally do not do well on clay compared to grass or hard court. The other three Americans left are 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens of Plantation, FL, Madison Keys of Rock Island, IL and the young 17 year-old upstart American Amanda Anisimova of Freehold Township, NJ.
Kenin and Stephens will both have tough fourth round matches. Kenin will face the eighth seeded Ashleigh Barty of Australia, who reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. Stephens, the seventh seed, meanwhile will face Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, the 19th seed, and two-time major champion on Sunday. Muguruza won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017. Head-to-head Muguruza and Stephens have won one match each. Muguruza won in the second round of Wuhan in 2015 and Stephens won in the fourth round in Miami in 2018.
In the men’s singles draw, only one American advanced to the second round and that was Taylor Fritz of Rancho Santa Fe, CA, who beat Australian Bernard Tomic handily in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 in first round action. Fritz then lost to Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, the 18th seed, in round two, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
The best popcorn match on Sunday for the men is Stanislav Wawrinka of Switzerland against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. In a very intriguing fourth round matchup, Wawrinka won the French Open in 2015 and is facing the rising Greek who reached the semifinals of the 2019 Australian Open. Wawrinka is seeded 24th and Tsitsipas is seeded sixth. This will be their first ever career meeting.