Grand Slam wait goes on for Serena Williams after French Open defeat to Elena Rybakina

American insists she was 'so close' to coming out on top against Kazakh in Paris

Serena Williams was beaten 6-3, 7-5 by 21-year-old Elena Rybakina at the French Open. AFP
Serena Williams was beaten 6-3, 7-5 by 21-year-old Elena Rybakina at the French Open. AFP

Serena Williams' wait to equal Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles goes on after her shock French Open defeat to Elena Rybakina in Paris.

The 39-year-old American became the latest top 10 seed to head for the Roland Garros exit after a 6-3, 7-5 fourth-round loss.

Rybakina, the 21-year-old from Kazakhstan, extended her best run at a major, sealing quarter-final spot for the first time. She will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a place in the last four.

For Williams, who fell to a 77-minute defeat on Court Philippe Chatrier on Sunday night, it was a case of so near, and yet so far. "It was definitely close. I'm so close. There is literally a point here, a point there, that could change the whole course of the match," she said.

"I'm not winning those points. That like literally could just change everything."

Williams still remains without a Grand Slam title since winning the 2017 Australian Open.

"I'm in a much better place than when I got here," Williams said. "You know, I was just literally trying to win a match, because it had been a really difficult season for me on the clay.

"Although I love the clay, I was, like, if I could just win a match. That's kind of where I was kind of coming in."

Her exit means just two of the women's top 10 seeds are left in the competition – reigning champion Iga Swiatek and last year's runner-up Sofia Kenin.

Asked whether this might be her last appearance on the clay-courts at Roland Garros, Williams said: "I'm definitely not thinking about it at all. I'm definitely thinking just about other things but not about that."

Published: June 7, 2021 03:07 PM

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