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French Open 2014: Second round yields more mayhem in Paris

Serena Williams at Roland Garros
by Caroline Cheese at Roland Garros
Friday 30 May 2014

Wimbledon.com's highlights from the second round at the 2014 French Open at Roland Garros...

Major headlines

If The Championships 2013 had 'Wild Wednesday', for the 2014 French Open it was 'Mad Mercredi' as top seed, world No.1 and defending champion Serena Williams crashed to a shock second-round defeat on Wednesday.

With a 6-2, 6-2 victory, rising Spanish star Garbine Muguruza handed Williams her earliest Grand Slam exit for two years as well as her heaviest major defeat in 288 matches at that level.

"(Serena) said that if I continue playing like this, I can win the tournament. I said, 'I will try, I will try,'" the 20-year-old Muguruza said of the pair's exchange at the net after the Spaniard's remarkably calm 64-minute victory.

As for Serena? Watch out Wimbledon.

"You can't be on every day, and, gosh, I hate to be off during a Grand Slam. It happens. It's not the end of the world," said the 17-time Grand Slam champion. "I’m going to go home and work five times as hard to make sure I never lose again."

With Li Na also out, it is the first time in Grand Slam history that neither of the women's top two have made it to the third round.

Roland Garros was still humming with the news of Venus Williams' exit when Serena took to the court. The older sister faded after a strong start against teenager Anna Schmiedlova and exited in three sets, meaning that instead of a 25th meeting between the two sisters in round three, the French Open will witness a second between Muguruza and Slovakia's Schmiedlova.

It was back to a rather refreshing normality on Thursday as Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Andy Murray joined Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the third round, while fourth seed Simona Halep and No.5 Petra Kvitova were among the women's winners.

Eight-time champion Nadal was in ominous form as he quelled the lively challenge of up-and-coming Austrian Dominic Thiem, who smacked 27 winners but still ended up on the wrong end of a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 scoreline.

"He has completely everything to become a champion," said Nadal, who joined the crowd in applauding his opponent off the court.

Biggest upsets

Nothing could beat Serena Williams' demise at the hands of Muguruza, who is playing in the French Open main draw for only the second time.

But Venus's exit was also surprising. The 32-year-old - seeded 29th - powered through the first set against world No.56 Schmiedlova, who was one month old when Williams won her first top-level match, but lost her way as the teenager warmed to the task and fell 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Even the boldest of tipsters might not have dared predict that the USA would have two women in the third round - but neither named 'Williams'.

That is the case though, as Taylor Townsend - an 18-year-old wildcard making her Grand Slam debut - upended French No.1 and 20th seed Alize Cornet in three sets and was later joined in the last 32 by Sloane Stephens.

Best match

For sheer drama, it would be hard to beat Townsend v Cornet. Playing a vastly more experienced opponent as well as the partisan crowd, teenager Townsend blew a 4-1 lead in the second set and then almost frittered away a 5-1 lead in the decider before coming through 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

"These are the moments," said the irrepressible Townsend, who celebrated victory by dancing the 'NaeNae'. “I was like if I do it, if I win, then I’m going to do a dance... I hope I didn’t look stupid."

Unsung hero

It is turning into a rollercoaster tournament for American tennis fans, what with the exits of Serena and Venus and the emergence of a potential new superstar in Townsend.

Meanwhile, Donald Young, a Chicago native like Townsend who was once tipped for the top, has quietly put together comfortably his best run at Roland Garros, having lost in the first round in two previous visits.

The 24-year-old was hugely impressive as he dispatched 26th seed Feliciano Lopez in straight sets on Wednesday.

"I have known her forever," Young said of Townsend. "As far as Taylor can go, as far as I can go, would be great. If she goes further than me or I her, I won't be mad, I will just be happy, because it's just Americans doing well, friends doing well."

Best video

Gael Monfils is compiling one heck of a showreel at this year's French Open. After his now infamous dance-off the day before the tournament began, the flamboyant Frenchman showed off some more dazzling moves on Thursday - this time, mid-match. He didn't win the point but he did win the match 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-1 against Jan-Lennard Struff.

They said

"I think it was 5 out of 10. Could be better" - Gael Monfils on his diving effort against Struff

"It won't be boring, not for sure, I think" - Fabio Fognini on facing fellow 'character' Monfils in round three

"I've spoken to a few people, male and female" - Andy Murray says he's open to appointing a female coach

"What’s up, Andy? I love your mom" - Taylor Townsend is told Murray tweeted about her during her win over Cornet

“He has lost one match here in 10 years, so I knew that it was going be the biggest challenge in my tennis career" - Dominic Thiem succinctly describes the daunting challenge of facing Rafa Nadal at Roland Garros

"My mom was probably a little bit royal obsessed, so yeah" - Eugenie Bouchard reveals she and her sister Beatrice were named after the daughters of the Duke and Duchess of York.

Best tweets

Follow the French Open live on ITV and at rolandgarros.com


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