Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina played some high quality tennis to end 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams journey at the French Open 2021.
After dominating the first set, Rybanika broke Serena twice in the second to win the match 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 17 minutes and qualify for the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time.
The 21-year-old with the win made Williams’ already long wait for her record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title longer.
Williams’ defeat came hours after Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament, saying he needed to let his body recover after a long third-round victory.
Three-time Roland Garros champion Williams, who has been stuck on 23 Grand Slam titles, one behind Margaret Court’s all-time record, was far more assured in the second set and managed to claim the victory without further fuss.
Williams has been agonisingly close to matching Court’s record since winning the 2017 Australian Open in her last Grand Slam event before becoming a mother.
She has fallen in four Grand Slam finals and earlier this year lost in the semi-finals at the Australian Open.
An electric Elena Rybakina moved really well on the court and converted 5 of the 7 break point opportunities. She hit 21 winners in comparison to Serena Williams’ 15. Rybakina was also successful in firing 4 aces. Ahead of the match, she had called Serena Williams a legend.
“The legend of the sport. Of course I want to be with her on the court, to feel this power and everything. I was watching her matches when I was growing up, and it will be nice to play with S erena. Why not?”