Serena Williams suffers fresh blow to French Open preparations with defeat in Parma

Former world No 1 beaten 7-6, 6-2 by Siniakova at Emilia-Romagna Open

Serena Williams of the United States returns the ball to Italy's Lisa Pigato during their match at the Emilia Romagna Open tennis tournament, in Parma, Monday, May 17, 2021. Serena Williams earned her first victory in more than three months by beating 17-year-old qualifier Lisa Pigato 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the Emilia-Romagna Open. Williams accepted a wild-card invitation for the Parma tournament after losing her opening match at the Italian Open last week. (AP Photo/Marco Vasini)
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Serena Williams' preparations for the French Open suffered another blow when she was beaten by Katerina Siniakova in the second round of the Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma, Italy.

The former world No 1 took a wild card into the tournament to give her more matches on clay after losing to Nadia Podoroska in her first match in Rome last week.

She won her first match on clay this season in the opening round in Italy against teenager Lisa Pigato but Siniakova proved too strong, winning 7-6, 6-2.

Williams had a set point at 5-4 in the opener but it was well saved by Siniakova, who then claimed the first break of serve only for the American to fight back.

But it was 68th-ranked Siniakova who was the more consistent in the tiebreak, and the Czech won four games in a row to finish the contest.

In her on-court interview, Siniakova said: "I feel amazing. It was a fantastic match. I played so good. I'm so happy that I could finish it like this. It was really a pleasure to share with her the court."

Third seed Coco Gauff let a 5-1 lead slip in the second set against Kaia Kanepi but recovered to win 7-6, 7-6 and continue her good form on clay after reaching the semi-finals in Rome.

Second seed Petra Martic was a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Varvara Gracheva while former French Open finalist Sara Errani beat Ana Bogdan 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.

At the WTA event in Belgrade, Croatia's Ana Konjuh continued her comeback from long-term elbow problems with a 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 victory over Alison Van Uytvanck.

There were also wins for Australian Ajla Tomljanovic and seventh seed Rebecca Peterson.