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Roger Federer and Serena Williams suffer shock defeats to dent French Open preparations


Roger Federer and Serena Williams may be able to boast 43 grand slam singles titles between them but both were left stunned by defeats within hours of each other on Tuesday.

In his first match since he made his injury comeback in March, Federer was beaten by Pablo Andújar at the Geneva Open, while Williams fell in straight sets to Katerina Siniakova in the Emilia-Romagna Open.

With the French Open set to begin on May 30, it’s hardly the ideal preparation for the year’s second grand slam.

Speaking after his 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 defeat to world No. 75 Andújar, the 39-year-old Federer said he’s not even thinking about winning at Roland Garros as he continues his return after two knee surgeries in 2020.

“I think when you played so little and you know where your level is at, and I think you saw that today, how can I think of winning the French Open?” the 20-time grand slam champion told reporters.

“I’m just realistic that I know I will not win the French and whoever thought I would or could win it is wrong.

“Of course, crazier things might have happened, but I’m not so sure in the last 50 years at the French Open, somebody just rocked up at 40 years-old, being out for a year and a half and just go on to just win everything straight.”

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Serena falters

Meanwhile, Williams suffered a similar fate at the hands of world No. 68 Siniakova, losing 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the second round of the Emilia-Romagna Open.

The 39-year-old was a wildcard for the tournament after losing in the opening round of the Italian Open and now has less than two weeks to prepare for the French Open.

Williams is still bidding to match Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam singles titles having lost the last three finals she’s been in but will have to improve on her current clay court form.

Despite starting well, Williams went on the produce seven double faults in the match while her opponent held her nerve.

“I didn’t do a lot of mistakes, and I think she felt it,” Siniakova said after the encounter. “I think she was trying to go harder and doing a lot of mistakes, which helped me. I’m really happy I could keep my level all match.

“It was a pleasure to share the court with her.”

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