Serena Williams looses as Federer quits at French Open

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Serena Williams’ quest for a 24th Grand Slam title record-equalling ended yesterday in the French Open last 16 round, just hours after Roger Federer pulled out of what was possibly his last appearance at Roland Garros.

The 39-year-old Williams, still one short of Margaret Court’s all-time record for most Grand Slam singles titles, lost 6-3, 7-5 to Kazakh 21st seed Elena Rybakina, while Federer withdrew as a precaution to protect his body for Wimbledon.

The American won the last of her three Roland Garros titles in 2015, and has not gone beyond the fourth round in Paris since losing the 2016 final.

“It was definitely close. I’m so close. There is literally a point here, a point there, that could change the whole course of the match,” said Williams. “I’m not winning those points. That like literally could just change everything.”

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Her exit leaves just two of the women’s top 10 seeds in the competition, reigning champion Iga Swiatek and last year’s runner-up Sofia Kenin.

Earlier, Federer made the decision to withdraw from what was possibly his last French Open, unwilling to risk his troublesome knee after an injury-plagued past 18 months.

Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam title winner, who will be 40 in August, had battled over three and a half hours until 12.45am yesterday morning to reach the last 16.

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