If an early stumble by seven-time major champion Venus is no longer big news — a month shy of 34, and slowed by an energy-sapping autoimmune disease, she's lost in the first or second round at eight of her past nine Slams — Serena's departure was shocking for many reasons.
She owns 17 major titles, including two in Paris; Muguruza was playing in her 13th career Slam match. Serena was 54-2 on clay over the past three seasons; Muguruza was 1-1 at the French Open until this week.
"I was like, 'Oh, my God, I'm winning,'" Muguruza said, noting that she grew up watching Serena on TV.
"Since I was a child, I thought, 'Oh, I want to play against Serena on center court.' And today was the day," Muguruza said. "And I think I did very good."
Most striking of all was the brevity, 64 minutes.
Serena never before failed to win at least five games in a match at a major, but Muguruza regularly pounded serves topping 100 mph (160 kph) and held her own during baseline rallies. Serena had 29 unforced errors and only eight winners.
"She played really smart," Serena said. "I didn't adapt."
So she'll remain one major singles trophy shy of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who each won 18.
And make no mistake — it's the majors that matter most to Serena, who lost in the fourth round at the Australian Open in January.
She's 24-4 with a tour-high four titles in 2014, but when asked to sum up her season, she said: "I haven't gotten past the fourth round of a Grand Slam this year. I have a couple words to describe it, but I think that would be really inappropriate, so I'm going to leave it at that. Thank you."
With that, she left her news conference. And the tournament.
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