Pre-tournament favourite and 13-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams [ Images ] suffered her first ever opening round defeat at a Grand Slam when she was beaten 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 by Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano at the French Open [ Images ] on Tuesday.
The fifth-seeded American was two points from victory at 5-1 up in the second set tie-break but her game inexplicably collapsed as she lost six points in a row to lose the set.
Razzano held her nerve in a jittery, action-packed ninth game of the final set, which lasted 25 minutes and stretched to 12 deuces before the Frenchwoman finally won the contest on her eighth match point.
The 111th ranked Razzano, who lost her fiance to a brain tumour a year ago, jumped with joy after Williams sent a backhand long after three hours and three minutes of topsy-turvy tennis.
While Williams swiftly packed her bags as she digested her earliest slam exit in 47 appearances, Razzano celebrated her greatest triumph at her home grand slam.
"I didn't think too much. I know I have unlimited resources. I dug very deep and I knew nothing was lost, even when I had cramps (in the last game), even when I was not feeling well," she told a courtside interviewer.
"It's the most beautiful victory in my career.
Williams did not mince her words as she summed up her day.
"I made so many errors today which is not the game that I have been playing in the past. There is no excuse," Williams told a news conference.