French Open: Kristina Mladenovic downs Garbine Muguruza, Venus Williams out
Venus Williams lost in the fourth round to 30th-seeded Timea Bacsinszky 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 while Kristina Mladenovic downed defending champion Garbine Muguruza 6-1 3-6 6-3 in the French Open on Sunday.tennis Updated: Jun 04, 2017 22:45 IST
There will be a first-time Grand Slam champion at the French Open. And there’s a week left in the tournament to figure out which of the 12 women still around that will be.
Venus Williams was the last of the past major title winners in the draw, and she lost in the fourth round to 30th-seeded Timea Bacsinszky 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 at Court Philippe Chatrier on Sunday. That happened less than an hour after defending champion Garbine Muguruza was beaten 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 by 13th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic at Court Suzanne Lenglen.
The only other two women with a Grand Slam trophy on their resumes who made it to the fourth round — Svetlana Kuznetsova and Samantha Stosur — lost earlier Sunday to women without one.
Kuznetsova, who won the 2009 French Open and 2004 U.S. Open, was ousted by two-time major finalist Caroline Wozniacki 6-1, 4-6, 6-2, while 2011 U.S. Open champion Stosur was eliminated by 19-year-old Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Mladenovic will face Bacsinszky next, and Wozniacki meets Ostapenko. Plus, all eight women who play for quarterfinal berths Monday are seeking a first major title.
Heading into this French Open, many figured the women’s draw was wide open, because of the absences of Williams’ sister, Serena, and Maria Sharapova. How right those folks were.
This was Muguruza’s first attempt at defending a Grand Slam championship, and she ran into a determined Mladenovic, who was backed by a vocal crowd of countrymen who chanted her nickname, Kiki, throughout the match.
Mladenovic often played to the fans, waving her arms to ask for more noise. And as Muguruza walked to the locker room after her defeat, she wagged a finger toward the stands as if to say, “Tsk, tsk!”
A year after showing so much resolve while winning the French Open, Muguruza fell apart down the stretch.
The 24-year-old Mladenovic never had been past the third round at her home major — and has never made it beyond the quarterfinals at any other.
But she managed to pull off the biggest victory of her career despite 16 double-faults, seven in each of the last two sets on a windy day with the temperature in the 60s (teens Celsius).
“Everything wasn’t perfect. There were a few concerns,” Mladenovic said, before joking: “I made about 35 double-faults today, but everything’s OK!”
Muguruza, who was seeded No. 4 in Paris, beat Serena Williams in the French Open final last year. She also was the runner-up to the American at Wimbledon in 2015.
But the Spaniard has been repeatedly answering questions recently about whether expectations are different now that she is a major champion and whether that sort of pressure might affect her on court.
The last repeat women’s champion at Roland Garros remains Justine Henin, who won the tournament three consecutive years from 2005-07.
Mladenovic broke down in tears during her post-match speech to the crowd, telling her supporters: “The courage and the force you give me is just unimaginable. It’s thanks to you that I fought for every point. And we’re in the quarterfinals. Yes!”
The last woman representing France to win the country’s Grand Slam tournament was Mary Pierce in 2000.
Mladenovic could have company in the quarterfinals, though: Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia plays her fourth-round match Monday.
This was the second year in a row that Bacsinszky beat seven-time major champion Venus Williams in the fourth round in Paris.
Williams, who turns 37 this month, earned all of those titles at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open. Her best French Open showing was in 2002, when she lost to Serena in the final.
Bacsinszky’s best result at a major tournament was reaching the semifinals at Roland Garros in 2015.