France's Razzano shocks Serena at French Open

France's Virginie Razzano shakes hands after winning over U.S. Serena Williams hits a return to...

France's Virginie Razzano shakes hands after winning over U.S. Serena Williams hits a return to during their Women's Singles First Round tennis match of the French Open. (Patrick Kovarik/AFP)

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 3:31 PM ET

PARIS, FRANCE - Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano came from behind to stun American great Serena Williams in a wildly-entertaining first-round battle Tuesday at the 2012 French Open.

The 29-year-old Razzano trailed by one set and 1-5 in a second-set tiebreak before charging back to shock the former world No. 1 Williams 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 on Court Chatrier at Stade Roland Garros.

Williams headed to Paris as one of the pre-tournament favorites, along with Maria Sharapova, but wound up suffering her first-ever opening-round loss at a Grand Slam event (46-1).

After dropping the second set, the fifth-seeded Williams sat in her chair and fought back tears during a lengthy changeover, which saw Razzano take what appeared to be a bathroom break.

Razzano was down 5-6 in the second set before forcing a see-saw tiebreak, which saw her win the last six points, and winning seven straight games for what appeared to be a commanding 5-0 lead in the third.

But Williams managed to stay alive by winning the next three games to set the stage for a war of attrition that was the ninth game of the final stanza.

Williams saved a whopping seven match points, but also blew five break points in the final game, as Razzano finally pulled off the stunner when the American sent one final backhand long to prompt a celebration by Razzano, who recorded the biggest win of her career in the process.

The 30-year-old Williams is a 13-time major singles champion, including a French Open title in 2002. The 2011 U.S. Open runner-up missed last year's French Open due to injury and hasn't reached a semifinal here since 2003.

Meanwhile, the three-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova and reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova avoided opening-round upsets.

The second-seeded Sharapova dropped only 18 points in a 48-minute 6-0, 6-0 double-bagel pasting of Romania's Alexandra Cadantu, while the fourth-seeded Kvitova also had little trouble in a 6-1, 6-2 thumping of Australia's Ashleigh Barty.

"No matter how good or bad they're playing, you still have to win that match," Sharapova said after destroying the helpless Cadantu. "It's always about who takes their chances."

And Kvitova may have whipped Barty, but liked what she saw in the Aussie's game.

"She has a big serve with kicks and good forehand," Kvitova said. "She has very good touch."

Sharapova needs only a title at Roland Garros to complete a career Grand Slam. The Russian star has won each of the other three major championships once and last year reached the semifinals in Paris for the second time in nine visits.

"I feel like with every year I have improved and I enjoy it much more," Sharapova said. "I think I learn a lot more about the game and the point construction. I feel like I'm moving a lot better than I did years previously, which has helped me a lot in the recovery process within the point."

Kvitova denied Sharapova a second Wimbledon crown in last year's finale at the All England Club for her first career Grand Slam title and is trying to better her fourth-round result from last year in Paris.

Sharapova's second-round opponent will be Japan's Ayumi Morita, while Kvitova will encounter Poland's Urszula Radwanska.

Also winning on Tuesday was former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone. Seeded 14th this year after winning the title in 2010 and finishing as runner-up to Li Na last year, Schiavone eased past 41-year-old Japanese Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-3, 6-1.

Sixteenth-seeded Russian glamour girl Maria Kirilenko cruised past France's Victoria Larriere 6-1, 6-2.

In other action involving seeds, No. 22 Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova topped Hungarian Greta Arn 6-4, 6-4, No. 23 Estonian Kaia Kanepi dismissed Russian Alexandra Panova, 6-3, 6-3, and No. 25 German Julia Goerges got past Czech Lucie Hradecka 7-6 (7-1), 6-4.

Several other women notched opening-round wins, including the aforementioned Morita and Radwanska, Britain's Heather Watson, Czech Klara Zakopalova, Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus, and Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova. Radwanska is the younger sister of world No. 3 star Agnieszka Radwanska.


Videos

Photos