Venus Williams falls to unseeded player in first round of French Open

Venus Williams title drought at the French Open continued on Sunday afternoon in stunning fashion.

The ninth-seeded Williams was knocked out of the singles tournament by 78th-ranked Wang Qiang in straight sets (6-4, 7-5) during their first round matchup.

Williams still hasn’t won a solo title at Roland Garros in her 24-year career. The closest she came was a second-place finish in 2002 to her sister Serena. That doesn’t mean the clay court has been all bad for the elder Williams sister. On three separate occasions she’s helped lead a doubles team to victory — twice with Serena (1999, 2010) and once with Justin Gimelstob (1998).

Still, Sunday’s result is quite a blow for the 37-year-old, who will again be competing with her sister in the doubles tournament as a wild card entry. At 26, Qiang has never advanced past the second round of any major tournament and has never been ranked higher than 44th (January, 2018). Considering Qiang has appeared in 200 or so fewer matches than Williams has career victories, this isn’t just another quiet win for a young pro. With a resounding first round defeat of one of her sport’s legends, Qiang has the momentum to finally catapult into the third round of a major tournament for the first time.

As for Williams, it’s another disappointing result on a court that hasn’t always been the kindest to her. She’ll have a few days to recover before her opening doubles match on Wednesday against 14th-seeded pair of Shuko Aoyama and Miyu Kato.

Serena Williams will begin her singles march towards another major victory on Tuesday before joining her sister for the doubles portion of the French Open.

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