PARIS (Reuters) - Former world number one Venus Williams suffered another early French Open exit when she was beaten 7-6(5) 6-1 by fellow American Sloane Stephens in the first round on Monday.
It was not a major surprise though as Stephens has reached the fourth round of the claycourt grand slam in the past three years. She will face Briton Heather Watson next.
Seven-times grand slam champion Williams, whose best result in Paris is a runner-up spot in 2002 but had not gone past the second round in the past four years, made the better start, opening a 2-0 lead but Stephens proved more accurate.
The 22-year-old broke back and sent the opening set into a tiebreak, which she easily won as her opponent, whom she had never met, netted a forehand.
The 34-year-old Williams never recovered and looked short of energy in the second set as Stephens raced to a 3-0 lead and never looked back, ending the baseline contest with an ace.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Martyn Herman)