Serena Williams was the biggest favorite to win Roland Garros 2012 with her 17-0 winning streak on clay this season, but she ended up losing in the first round of a Grand Slam event for the first time in her career! Serena used to be 46-0 in first round at Grand Slams. Now Virginie Razzano has spoiled that perfect record and completely changed the perspective of Roland Garros 2012.
Virginie Razzano lost the pretty calm first set, kept her game on a good level in the relatively steady second set, before bringing her fierce side in the last moment, coming back from 1-5 down in the tiebreak to win the set and then even the match by pulling off the highly-dramatic third set (and even highly-dramatic could be an understatement). Final score: 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3.
The first set started quietly, and even though Razzano broke Williams' serve in the first game and soon after had a 3-1 lead, the slow pace of the match somehow assured me that Williams was yet to switch to a higher gear. In the eighth game, a precise backhand in the corner earned Williams a triple break point and she leveled at 4-4, then held her serve and in the tenth game Razzano surrendered the set with a double fault.
A few more games continued in the pretty steady mood of the first set, but then things heated up when Razzano earned two break points at 2-2 and then the third one with a beautiful battle on the net. However, the entertaining set continued to go with serve until the end. I have to admit that when Serena held her serve to love to lead 6-5, I expected her to finish the job in the following game, but the sturdy Razzano converted entertainment into drama, forced the tiebreak AND from 1-5 down in the tiebreak she won 13 straight points to win the set and lead 1-0 40-0 in the third set. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Serena was crying after she lost the second set, as if she knew the defeat was looming.
Razzano's lead was even greater soon. The former world No.16, now No.111, raced to a 5-0 lead in the third set. The fifth-seeded Serena was fighting to come back, won three games, but Razzano earned a match point. Razzano served up a double fault on her first match point at 5-3, before sealing victory on her EIGHTH, in the same game but like 20 minutes later (after 12 deuces).
Besides the unexpected drama that unfolded, this match had another peculiarity. It was the first meeting of the two veterans, who were playing their 15th (Serena) and 14th (Razzano) main draw at Roland Garros.
Is it of any consolation that Serena looked super cute in her green Nike Statement Rally Dress matched with Nike Air Max Mirabella 3 shoes and accessorized by nice white flower earrings? Oh, I guess not. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)