An inconsistent performance from 2002 champion Serena Williams saw her crash out in the third round to Slovenian No27 seed Katarina Srebotnik 6-4 6-4.
Srebotnik, a doubles specialist and runner-up here in the doubles in 2007 had never beaten Williams in four previous meetings but it was the 2002 champion who looked ill at ease on Suzanne Lenglen court and seemed to be unusually nervous right from the start. Srebotnik began well, breaking Williams in the first game of the match. She then held comfortably to lead 2-0 but Williams broke back in the fourth game to level at 2-2. Games continued with serve until the seventh when a forehand error from William’s handed Srebotnik the break at 4-3. Serving at 5-4, the Slovenian wrapped up the set in forty four minutes on her third set point.
An increasingly unhappy-looking Williams managed to get to break point on Srebotnik’s serve at 3-2 in the second set but netted an easy ball to allow the Slovenian back to deuce. Williams had another opportunity to break at 4-3 only to send her backhand slice wide. The momentum was with the Slovenian, and she broke Serena in the next game before serving out to take the match 6-4.
“She was edgy. Her head just wasn't there and I can't explain why," said her mother and coach, Oracene. "She's been like that since she got here. She wasn't confident. She been in a funk for a couple of weeks.”
Srebotnik has now equalled her previous best Grand Slam performance – a fourth round appearance at Roland Garros in 2002 and will face either France’s Emilie Loit or Patty Schynder in the next round. Williams’ defeat has also opened up the draw for Ana Ivanovic who was due to meet the American in the quarter finals and who had little trouble overcoming Dane Wozniacki 6-4 6-1. And with the retirements of Justine Henin and Anastasia Myskina and the elimination of Williams, it means that Roland Garros will have a brand new women's champion this year...