World No. 1 Serena Williams enters Roland Garros in a different spot than she was last year. Coming into Paris in 2015, Serena was dominating on both her serve and return of serve and lost just one match in the first five months of the year. This year has been a different story. After losing her bid for a calendar year Grand Slam with her shocking semifinal loss in the 2015 U.S. Open, Serena fell in the finals of the 2016 Australian Open. She didn’t win a WTA title until just a week ago when she claimed the title in Rome.
Here’s a look at her path to Roland Garros for the last two years:
The big difference for Serena in 2016 has been her losses in the last two Grand Slam events. As the overwhelming No. 1 player in the world, every time she loses a match it’s a major upset. When she loses on the biggest stages, the upsets carry more weight and create a larger impression. Her losses to Angelique Kerber in Australia, to Victoria Azarenka in Indian Wells and to Svetlana Kuznetsova in Miami suggest that she is not playing at the same level as 2015. But in Paris, anything goes, and it’s really a question of how well she plays at the biggest moments in the biggest matches.
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