Sunday, June 6, 2021

Serena, Federer say au revoir to 2021 French Open

File photo by Paul Bauman
   Serena Williams and Roger Federer, who have combined for 43 Grand Slam singles titles, exited the French Open today.
   No. 21 seed Elena Rybakina, a hard-hitting 21-year-old Moscow native who represents Kazakhstan, eliminated the erratic Williams, seeded seventh, 6-3, 7-5 in Paris to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
   Williams failed to tie Margaret Court's record of 24 major singles crowns for the 12th time and has not reached a final in her last seven Grand Slam tournaments.
   The eighth-seeded Federer, who won Roland Garros in 2009, was scheduled to play ninth-seeded Matteo Berrettini of Italy on Monday.
   "After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation, it's important that I listen to my body and make sure I don't push myself too quickly on my road to recovery," Federer tweeted. "I am thrilled to have gotten three matches under my belt. There is no greater feeling than being back on court."
File photo by Paul Bauman
   Federer and Williams will turn 40 in August and September, respectively. It's uncertain whether either will return to the French Open next year.
   "I'm definitely not thinking about it at all," the three-time champion of the French Open and Bank of the West Classic at Stanford told reporters. "I'm definitely thinking just about other things but not about that."
   Rybakina's victory assures a first-time Grand Slam semifinalist. In the bottom half of the draw, Rybakina will face No. 31 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, and No. 33 seed Paula Badosa, a New York native who plays for Spain, will meet unseeded Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia. 
   Pavlyuchenkova, who played for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in 2006 at age 15, also reached the French Open quarterfinals 10 years ago at 19. 
   The quarters in the top half of the draw, featuring defending champion Iga Swiatek and 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, will be determined Monday.
   In the first round of boys singles:
   —Aidan Mayo of Roseville, Calif., in the Sacramento area defeated Matthew William Donald of the Czech Republic 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-2.
   —No. 16 seed Viacheslav Bielinskyi of Ukraine beat Ethan Quinn of Fresno, Calif., 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
   WTA TourKristie Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate, topped British wild card Jodie Burrage 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 on grass in the first round of the Viking Open Nottingham. Ahn had been 0-5, including three ITF (minor-league) matches, since March.
   Lucky loser Marina Melnikova of Russia edged qualifier Katie Volynets, 19, of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (6).

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