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Serena Williams Is Gone in a Flash

Posted: May 30, 2012

Of all the possible scenarios for Serena Williams in her return to the French Open after a two-year absence, no one saw this one coming.

Certainly winning wasn't guaranteed, considering her career-long struggle to prevail on clay courts. She's not getting any younger, either, approaching her 31st birthday in September. And health could be an issue at any moment, like May 19, when she cited a back injury and withdrew from the Italian Open semifinals.

But surely Williams, ranked No. 5 in the world, would make it past her opening match against France's Virginie Razzano, ranked No. 111 in the world. After all, en route to winning 13 Grand Slam titles and competing in dozens more, Williams had never lost in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament.

Until Tuesday, when she blew a big lead and was defeated 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3.

Entering the tournament this year, Williams was uncharacteristically good in matches on clay, a perfect 17-0 this year. And she was well on her way to another victory -- which would have improved her record to 46-0 in Grand Slam openers -- before Razzano won six straight points to take the set and then won five straight games in the third set.

"I just felt I couldn't get a ball in play," Williams said. "You know, when I did, I just felt like I was hitting late, and I mean, how can you hit late on a clay court? It was kind of odd."

Read the rest here.

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