French Open - 'Wow, this is the next gen' - Elena Rybakina 'big surprise' against Serena Williams - Wilander
Serena Williams' wait for her elusive 24th Grand Slam singles title goes on after Elena Rybakina clinched a quite brilliant straight sets, 6-3 7-5, victory at the 2021 French Open. The American threw everything she possibly could at her opponent, but she simply could not match Rybakina, who was inspired on Court Philippe Chatrier. Mats Wilander has hailed Rybakina as a "great player".
'Wow, this is the next gen' - Rybakina 'big surprise' in win over Serena - Wilander
'Wow, I can't believe it!' - Ball hits Serena's racket in bizarre moment
The defeat will come as a huge disappointment for the 39-year-old, particularly given that the draw had opened up very nicely for her to succeed in Paris this year, but Wilander believes it was more about Rybakina's talent and fearless approach.
"I'm very surprised. Anyone would show anxiety, but she didn't. She was unbelievably calm and I do think it helps these younger players that they serve so good, and it puts a lot of pressure on Serena," Wilander said.
Wow, this is the next generation of tennis players. She will have grown up watching Venus and Serena. She serves as hard as Serena and she moves really, really well. That's the biggest surprise for me.
"She is a great player, and to stay that calm, I think that says to us that she is going to be around for a while. I didn't think Serena played badly at all, she just got outplayed by someone with a similar playing style.
"This is a great generation and they are really, really good tennis players. Physically they are strong, but they move so smoothly, so something really good is happening."
'I was nervous but so happy' - Rybakina after huge win over Serena
With Aryna Sabalenka having joined Ash Barty in leaving the tournament with a defeat on Friday morning, and with Naomi Osaka having withdrawn, the path appeared as clear as it ever could be for Williams.
But now it is Rybakina who can capitalise after she clinched her place in the last eight in Paris.
The 21st seed will be the favourite in her quarter-final clash against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who earlier in the day defeated Victoria Azarenka in three sets.
Highlights: Rybakina shocks Serena to reach quarter-finals in Paris