Great Britain

Serena Williams’ French Open preparations hit by defeat in Parma

Serena Williams’ preparations for the French Open suffered another blow with defeat by Katerina Siniakova in the second round of the Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma.

The former world No 1 took a wild card into the tournament to give her more matches on clay after defeat by Nadia Podoroska in her first match in Rome last week. She managed her first win on clay this season in the opening round in Italy against teenager Lisa Pigato but Siniakova proved too strong, winning 7-6 (4), 6-2.

Williams had a set point at 5-4 in the opener but it was well saved by Siniakova, who then claimed the first break of serve only for the American to fight back. But it was 68th-ranked Siniakova who was the more consistent in the tie-break, and the Czech won four games in a row to finish the contest.

In her on-court interview, Siniakova said: “I feel amazing. It was a fantastic match. I played so good. I’m so happy that I could finish it like this. It was really a pleasure to share with her the court.”

Third seed Coco Gauff let a 5-1 lead slip in the second set against Kaia Kanepi but recovered to win 7-6 (6), 7-6 (7) and continue her good form on clay after reaching the semi-finals in Rome.

Second seed Petra Martic was a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Varvara Gracheva while former French Open finalist Sara Errani beat Ana Bogdan 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.

At the Swiss Open, Roger Federer suffered a surprise defeat to Pablo Andjúar in the last 16.

Federer, who is due to play in the French Open, was leading 4-2 in the final set in Geneva but his Spanish opponent won the next four games.

At the WTA event in Belgrade, Croatia’s Ana Konjuh continued her comeback from long-term elbow problems with a 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 victory over Alison Van Uytvanck. There were also wins for the Australian Ajla Tomljanovic and seventh seed Rebecca Peterson.

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