Game, set, match: Serena Williams ousted
Rio de Janeiro — Women's world No. 1 Serena Williams joined men's top-ranked Novak Djokovic on the sidelines as the upsets continued Tuesday at the Olympic tennis tournament in Rio.
Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, ranked 20th, sprung a third-round 6-4, 6-3 upset as Williams committed 37 unforced errors.
"It's obviously disappointing but, you know, she played really well and I think the better player today won," Williams said.
Williams was however in good company as Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, the third seed, who beat Williams for the French Open title two months ago, also exited, 6-1, 6-1 against Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig.
But on the men's side the last two gold medalists, Andy Murray (2012) and Rafael Nadal (2008) advanced.
The men's field had their big shock last weekend when Djokovic went out against Argentine Juan Martin del Potro.
Williams followed Tuesday on the women's side, after failing in the doubles with her sister Venus, and leaves Rio empty-handed after taking both golds four years ago.
Williams overcame a 3-1 second-set deficit to tie at 3-3 but never got on the scoreboard again as the aggressive Svitolina broke twice more for victory in 1 hour 11 minutes.
"It was a career opportunity," Williams said. "It didn't work out the way I wanted to, but at least I was able to make it to Rio. That was one of my goals. It was awesome. It was fun. But it's over now."
Muguruza suffered an even heavier defeat against Puig and readily admitted: "I was very shocked about how she played today. I think she played unbelievable. Also I didn't find the way tactically to beat her.
"I'm over it," Muguruza added. "I have to go to the court again, I have a doubles match. This is the Olympic Games, I know it's frustrating and disappointing to lose, but it's my first Games, I was not expecting to come here and win a gold medal like that."
Juan Monaco, meanwhile, was unable to duplicate the feat of countryman Del Potro in his game against Murray as the Wimbledon champion coasted to a 6-3, 6-1 win and maintained his superb run of recent form.
Fresh from his Wimbledon triumph last month and unbeaten in 14 matches since losing the French Open final, Murray is strongly tipped for gold with Djokovic gone.
"It's obviously surprising but Del Potro is a great, great player when he's fit," Murray said. "He hasn't been fit in the last few years, that's the reason it was a first-round draw.
"Unfortunately for Novak that he came obviously playing extremely well."
Nadal, meanwhile, broke early in each set to oust Italy's Andreas Seppi, 6-3, 6-3.