Serena Williams is out of the Emilia-Romagna Open after a shock straight sets loss to underdog Katerina Siniakova in Parma.
Siniakova was in excellent form to pounce on a sluggish Williams, who was the top seed in the tournament and fresh off an easy win against Lisa Pigato.
The first set was a close affair lasting over an hour, with Williams and Siniakova neck and neck and needing a tie breaker to separate them.
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Both women were serving well and it wasn’t until the eleventh game that Williams dropped the first serve of the match. The former world number one struck straight back to force a tie-breaker which was as equally tight as the previous exchanges.
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With the tie-breaker finely poised at 3-4, Siniakova found the momentum swing in her favour when she managed to break Williams and edge the first set.
Williams began brightly in the second set breaking Siniakova’s first serve, but was pegged back immediately before quickly falling 2-4 behind.
The American star struggled to find her rhythm and Siniakova did well to capitalise on several wayward shots.
Siniakova continued to dominate and sped through the two final games, making full use of three match points to earn an impressive win over Williams. It was the first time the pair were meeting and Siniakova was visibly emotional when her victory was finally confirmed.
“I feel amazing," Siniakova said afterwards.
It was a fantastic match and I played so good. I'm so happy I could finish like this.
“It was really a pleasure to share the court with her.”
The Czech will play Caroline Garcia or German qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsam in the quarter-finals and will be full of confidence after knocking out the top seed.
Williams, who cut a frustrated figure at times during the match, now switches her focus to the French Open, hopeful her short stint in Parma will be enough to reclaim her match sharpness.
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