Venus Williams has teamed up with Coco Gauff to play doubles at the French Open, the first time in Venus' 24-year grand slam career that she's played women's doubles with someone other than sister Serena.
With a 23-year age gap between 40-year-old Williams and the 17-year-old Gauff, fans were sent into a frenzy after learning about the new doubles pairing at Roland Garros.
However the fan favourites fell at the first hurdle on Wednesday, losing 7-6(5) 4-6 3-6 to 13th seeds Ellen Perez and Zheng Saisai.
Williams and Gauff took the opening set in a tie-breaker, sparking big cheers from the crowd.
However they went down in the next two sets in a match that lasted two hours and 11 minutes.
Remarkably, it marked the first time since Williams made her grand slam debut in 1997 that she's played women's doubles with someone not named Serena.
Williams has won 14 grand slam doubles titles, all with her younger sister Serena, who is chasing a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles title in Paris.
Venus and Serena won the Australian Open doubles titles in 2001, 2003, 2009 and 2010, French Open in 1999 and 2010, Wimbledon in 2000, 2002, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2016, and the US Open in 1999 and 2009.
Gauff, whose regular doubles partner Caty McNally suffered an injury, has won three doubles titles in her career in addition to her two singles crowns.
Gauff has been in the spotlight ever since her astounding run to the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2019 as a 15-year-old.
She knocked out Venus - her idol and a seven-time major winner - in her debut grand slam match.
Gauff also beat Venus at last year's Australian Open on her way to the fourth round in Melbourne.
Fans erupted on social media on Wednesday after seeing Williams and Gauff in action.
Serena Williams advances to third round in singles
Meanwhile, Serena was in full control of her singles match on Wednesday aside from a second set stumble.
Pushed to a third set by an opponent offering up all sorts of spins and speeds and angles, the 39-year-old regained her form and forged to the finish.
Williams returned to the third round at Roland Garros, where she has won three of her 23 grand slam singles titles, by beating 174th-ranked Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3 5-7 6-1 on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Her serving, especially at the outset, was much better than in her first-round win.
"I've been practising my serve a lot. I've been playing, in practice, unbelievable on my serve. The other night was, wooooow," she said, rolling her eyes.
"I'm glad it came better today.
"My coach told me it's good that I'm doing it well in practice, because eventually it will be good in the match."
Next for the seventh-seeded Williams is an all-American match-up against Danielle Collins, who overwhelmed Anhelina Kalinina 6-0 6-2.
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