French Open: Sofia Kenin shocks Serena Williams in straight sets
Kenin dictated the match from beginning to end/Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

French Open: Sofia Kenin shocks Serena Williams in straight sets

The 20-year old American controlled play through most of the match to reach the fourth round of a major for the first time while sending Williams to her earliest exit in Paris since 2014.

john-lupo
John Lupo

The upsets continued on a wild Saturday at the French Open as three-time champion Serena Williams fell to countrywoman Sofia Kenin 6-2, 7-5 to close out play on Court Philippe Chatrier. The world number 35 played the match largely on her terms, only being broken once while breaking Williams four times.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion fell victim to Kenin's excellent variety which included drop shots and stretching Williams from side to side to keep her off balance throughout the entirety of the 92-minute contest. The 20-year old will face eighth seed Ashleigh Barty in the round of 16 on Monday.

Kenin employed drop shots and angles as part of her winning strategy/Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Kenin employed drop shots and angles as part of her winning strategy/Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Kenin pulls off memorable upset with perfectly executed gameplan

Kenin was pressuring the Williams serve straightaway, holding a break point that the world number one only saved with some big serving. She held her own serve twice to love, making a statement to the three-time Roland Garros champion that she wasn't going to be intimidated.

Showing her variety, Kenin converted with a deft drop shot that Williams was unable to get close to and held her nerve well to save a break point in her next service game for a 4-2 lead. Shockingly, she broke a second straight time with a forehand winner and closed out the set after saving another break point.

A third straight back came immediately as Kenin ran her streak of games won to six as she backed up her break with a hold for a 2-0 lead. Three holds were recorded as the 20-year old maintained her advantage at 3-2, but a 14-point game, the longest of the match, saw Williams break back when her younger foe pushed a backhand wide.

Williams had no answers for Kenin's play in their third-round match/Photo: TPN/Getty Images
Williams had no answers for Kenin's play in their third-round match/Photo: TPN/Getty Images

The hitting off the ground became more intense as each player fought through two more service holds to finely poise the score at 5-5. Kenin then fired another return winner that once again gave her a break advantage and an opportunity to serve out the match. She saved a break point and then closed out the famous win on her second match point.

Kenin "still trying to process what just happened"

"Serena is such a tough player",  Kenin said in her post-match press conference.  "I'm still trying to process what just happened. I knew before the match, I was ready to go. I was there to win a match. Of course she's a true champion and an inspiration and she's done great things for American tennis.

"I'm just really happy with this win. I played really well, and i'm just really excited for my next match. I think this is such a great win for me. I mean, as you can see after the match -- I don't normally cry after a match. I had so many emotions playing on Chatrier. I have always imagined playing there and winning a match. I went there today with the mentality to go there and win."

Williams complimentary of opponent following defeat

After suffering her earliest exit in Paris in five years, Williams said "just saw a player that was playing unbelievably, and that's it. I didn't see anything else. I feel like she, in that first set in particular, she hit pretty much inches from the line, and I haven't played anyone like that in a long time. 

"So yeah she actually played really well. I just think that the player I playe today, she just literally played unbelievable. She really went out there today and did great".

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