In her first match since falling in the Wimbledon final, Serena Williams stumbled to the worst defeat of her career.
The sixth-seeded American lost 6-1, 6-0 to Great Britain’s Johanna Konta on Tuesday night in the first round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at San Jose, Calif.
“I think she played well in the second set,” Williams said. “I think I wasn’t sharp at all in the first set, and then she got confident and clearly ran away with it.”
After Williams held serve in the first game, Konta took the next 12 games in a row, closing out the upset in 53 minutes. Konta never faced a break point.
The result edged a 6-0, 6-2 loss to Romania’s Simona Halep in the 2014 WTA Finals for the worst Williams has ever endured.
Williams has her ranking back up to No. 26 in the world while playing an abbreviated schedule this year after giving birth to a daughter last September.
Konta, ranked 48th in the world, got to the final of a Wimbledon warmup event at Nottingham, England, in June but otherwise hasn’t reached a quarterfinal since early January.
Belarus’ Vera Lapko pulled off another first-round upset, beating seventh-seeded Shuai Zhang of China 7-6 (2), 6-0.
Lapko came through at clutch moments, saving seven of the eight break points she faced.
Fifth-seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania beat American Sachia Vickery 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, and eighth-seeded Timea Babos of Hungary defeated France’s Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-2. Heather Watson of Great Britain got past American Claire Liu 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, and American Amanda Anisimova beat China’s Qiang Wang 6-2, 7-5.
Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki withdrew from the Washington event due to a right leg injury, shortly before she was scheduled to play her opening match.
The 28-year-old Danish player said the ailment cropped up in practice Monday.
“It’s just something that has been nagging for a little while,” Wozniacki said. “Hopefully it will be fine.”
Wozniacki, who is ranked second in the world, won the Australian Open in January for her first major championship in 43 events. This summer, she lost in the fourth round at the French Open and the second round at Wimbledon.
Belgium’s Ysaline Bonaventure, a lucky loser from qualifying, entered the main draw in Wozniacki’s place and got a first-round matchup with Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina.
Second-seeded Sloane Stephens won an all-American first-round matchup Tuesday, beating Bethany Mattek-Sands 7-5, 6-4. Third-seeded Naomi Osaka of Japan defeated American Bernarda Pera 6-2, 7-6 (4).
Seventh-seeded Donna Vekic of Croatia knocked out American Caroline Dolehide 6-3-, 6-4, and eighth-seeded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan topped Germany’s Tatjana Maria 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland completed a rain-delayed 7-5, 6-2 win over Great Britain’s Harriet Dart. Also advancing were Japan’s Nao Hibino and Romania’s Ana Bogdan.
—Field Level Media