Sport

Serena Williams’ French Open preparations hit by defeat in Parma

Serena Williams’s preparations for the French Open suffered another blow with defeat by Katerina Siniakova in 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 the Italian Open in Rome last week. She managed her first win on clay this season in the opening round in Parma, against the teenager Lisa Pigato, but Siniakova proved too strong, winning 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the second round.

Williams had a set point at 5-4 in the first set 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, winning four games in a row to finish the contest.

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.”

The 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.

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

At the Geneva Open, Roger Federer went down to a surprise defeat to Pablo Andújar, losing 4-6, 6-4, 4-6 in the last 16.

Federer was leading 4-2 in the final set 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 Ajla Tomljanovic and Rebecca Peterson.