(CNN) -- Serena Williams suffered the embarrassment of being knocked out in the opening round of a grand slam tournament for the first time in her illustrious career after defeat to Virginie Razzano at the French Open.
The 13-time major champion lost an epic three-hour duel 4-6 7-6 6-3 to her unseeded French opponent, who suffered from cramp through most of the match.
It was Williams' 47th grand slam tournament and her earliest exit since sister Venus beat her in the second round of her first major -- the Australian Open in 1998.
Razzano, the world 111, squandered seven match points in a final game that lasted over 20 minutes and was penalized twice for crying out in pain during a rally.
But despite being hampered by her injury she managed to close out the game, backed by a vociferous home crowd, and shrieked in delight as she recorded the biggest victory of her career.
The 29-year-old lost her fiancee and coach Stephane Vidal after a long battle with cancer prior to last year's tournament. She will now face Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus in the second round.
"I fought until the end," she said in a courtside interview. "You (the crowd) gave me your energy. I'm going have to rest. Thank you all for your support."
"I'm disappointed, but that's life, things could be worse," said Williams. "I've been through so much in my life. I'm not sitting here happy. I've got to figure out what I did wrong and not do it again. I fought until the end."
Maria Sharapova took just 48 minutes to book her place in the second round beating Romania's Alexandra Cadantu 6-0 6-0.
The world No.2 is seeking to complete a career slam with victory at Roland Garros -- the only major championship she is yet to win.
Sharapova has only been beaten once on clay all season, in the Madrid Open final, and has taken titles in both Stuttgart and Rome leading into the tournament in Paris.
And the Russian looked in merciless mood on Court Suzanne Lenglen as she set up a second round clash with Japan's Ayumi Morita.
"Nothing is ever easy, because you have to face whoever is across the net," Sharapova told a press conference.
"No matter how good or bad they're playing, you still have to win that match. That was just my goal today.
"I'm really happy with the way my preparation has been coming into this tournament. I feel like with every year I've improved and enjoy it much more.
"Every year I learn a lot more about the game and point construction. I feel like I'm moving a lot better than I did years previously, which has helped me a lot in the recovery process within the point.
"All of that gives me a lot of confidence for this tournament."
"It's been a solid year. I started the year off on a really good note. I was healthy. I had a pretty good off-season, I would say. I was practicing well.
"It hasn't actually been as long as I've wanted it to be because of the ankle, but I started off with really good, high energy. I was really positive, and it's paying off."
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the No. 4 seed, also enjoyed a comfortable passage into round two.
The Czech defeated 16-year-old Australian Ashleigh Barty 6-1 6-2 in just under an hour and will face Poland's Urszula Radwanska in the next round.
The 2010 champion, Francesca Schiavone of Italy, enjoyed a 6-3 6-1 victory over Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm.
Britain's Heather Watson enjoyed a 6-2 6-4 victory over Russia's Elena Vesnina and she will now face Germany's No. 25 seed Julia Goerges.