Serena Williams is out of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics womens singles. Williams, who did not take questions from the media after the match and instead did a brief interview with a U.S. Tennis Association spokesman who shared the audio with reporters.
The world No. 1 was beaten 6-4 6-3 by a player to whom she had never lost in their four previous meetings.Williams, who had already been knocked out of the doubles tournament along with sister Venus, equaled Steffi Graf’s open era record of 22 grand slams last month by winning Wimbledon.But while the 34-year-old was favored by many to add a second Olympic singles title, she was unable to find a way past a determined opponent.
Svitolina, ranked 20th in the world, was beaten 6-1 6-1 by Williams in their last meeting, on clay, at the French Open in June.But she showed little sign of being overawed on this occasion, unleashing a number of impressive ground strokes on the Rio hard courts to leave Williams in trouble.The Odessa-born player looked like romping to victory after breaking her American opponent early in the second set.But Williams broke back to level at 3-3 despite being hampered by a number of unforced errors.Double faults continued to haunt her in the next game as she served five of them to gift Svitolina a 4-3 lead.
Trailing 0-40 at 3-5, Williams saved the first two match points as the pressure began to build.But she could not find a way to escape on this occasion, going long on a forehand to confirm her fate.Svitolina will next play two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. The Czech reached the quarterfinals by beating Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.
Brazil’s third-seeded doubles team of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares delivered another crushing blow to 12-time major champion Novak Djokovic, eliminating the Serbian no.1 and partner Nenad Zimonjic from the men’s tennis doubles.
Djokovic was dumped out of the first round of the singles to Argentine Juan Martin del Potro yesterday, but at least then he could count on the support of the in Rio de Janeir crowd. Tonight the cheers were all for Melo and Soares who pumped fists and celebrated every point as if they were goals at the Maracana.
The 6-4 6-4 defeat was the second elimination in less than a week for Djokovic at these Olympic Games. The Serbian has clearly been enjoying his time in Rio but confirmed that he won’t play mixed doubles. Djokovic is still seeking his first Olympic gold. He’ll be 33 at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, and he said Monday that “I really hope I will have another shot at the medal.”