This time last year Virginie Razzano was just trying to breathe and get through the day after he fiance died after battling a brain tumour for many years. Today the world number 111 was at the brink of defeat and instead Razzano beat Serena Williams in their first round match 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 in a surprising upset.
It all seemed done and dusted when Virginie screamed and grabbed her calf towards the end of the second set. But the resilient crowd favourite shook it off.
Again it seemed like the match was over when Serena was up 5-1 in the tiebreak only to lose 6 consecutive points and hand the Frenchwoman the second set to the enormous delight of the crowd.
As Razzano left the court to leave Serena think about what she had let slip away, thinking about the points she halted only to make an incorrect call on a very playable ball. Serena appeared to be quite emotional about losing the set, seeming to shed a tear at one point.
Always the battler, Serena fought back to 3-5 but eventually Razzano conquered cramps to claim one of the biggest wins of her career on her eighth match point.
It was Serena’s first ever first round defeat in a Grand Slam.
“I did my mourning. It took time, but I worked with somebody and I felt I was ready to live my life both professionally and personally again.
Was it destiny for me to win tonight? I don’t know but I wanted to win so much.
The loss was the 30-year-old Williams’ first exit at the opening round stage of her 47-event Grand Slam career and earliest defeat at a major since she was knocked out of the Australian Open second round by sister Venus in 1998.
I was cramping at the end but I knew I could beat her. I said ‘don’t give up’. I couldn’t sleep properly for three nights before the match.
I even watched Serena on Google and YouTube. I kept telling myself that when I step on court I could do it, I could win.”