Venus Makes History At The Olympic Games With Double Bagel Victory
Updated: 12:41 PM EDT
Federer crashes out as Williams completes shutout
By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Sports
ATHENS, Greece (AP) - The no. 1 men's tennis player, Roger Federer of Switzerland, crashed out of the Olympics Tuesday, losing to the Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych 4-6, 7-5, 7-5.
In the biggest success of his career, the 18-year-old Berdych who has never won a singles title on the ATP tour, came back from a set down to break the Wimbledon champion's serve in two successive sets.
Federer had been heavily tipped to reach the final. Second-seeded Andy Roddick plays later Tuesday.
A day after failing in her bid for a second straight doubles gold medal, Venus Williams beat Maja Matevzic of Slovenia 6-0, 6-0 to reach the third round in singles - where she's also the defending champion.
It's the first shutout since tennis returned to the Olympics as a medal sport in 1988. Mercifully, the whole thing took just 39 minutes.
And Williams had her doubles defeat in mind the whole time.
"I'm still in shock. I'm not used to losing, especially in a first round. It's pretty tough," she said. "That really affected the way I played today. I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I usually let it go. It bothered me a whole lot."
Williams took it out on the ball, pounding serves at up to 110 mph (177 kph) and hitting perfectly placed strokes off both wings.
Repeatedly, Matevzic barely got to the right spot and made only partial contact, sending balls flying sideways toward the chair umpire or so long that they hopped into the stands on one bounce.
The Slovenian managed merely one winner, on a second-set volley, while Williams conjured 14.
In the early session, two other seeded players lost: No. 5 Juan Carlos Ferrero and No. 9 Marat Safin. Feliciano Lopez of Spain eliminated Safin 7-6 (4), 6-3, while Mardy Fish of the United States came back to upset Ferrero 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4. Ferrero double-faulted twice when serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set.
Top-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne, out since May with a viral infection, was nearly as impressive as Williams, beating Maria Vento-Kabchi of Venezuela 6-2, 6-1.
"I'm feeling good here. My energy is good even after four months off," the Belgian said. "Mentally, it's going to be tougher, because I need to be focused on every point. In the next few weeks, that's going to be hardest of all."
Also advancing: No. 3 Anastasia Myskina and No. 5 Sveltana Kuznetsova of Russia, No. 8 Ai Sugiyama of Japan, No. 10 Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, No. 11 Francesca Schiavone of Italy, and No. 12 Karolina Sprem of Croatia, best known for beating Williams in the second round at Wimbledon.
Sprem offered much more of a test that Williams faced on Tuesday. Matevzic's ranking slid out of the top 250 because she missed most of this season with a left wrist injury.
Even if she wasn't facing the best of the best, the glorified practice did wonders for Williams' psyche.
"Playing like that just builds my confidence even much more for the upcoming rounds," the four-time Grand Slam champion said. "Just puts an extra boost in my step and makes me feel even more positive, and helps me move on from yesterday."
She seemed stunned Monday night after she and fill-in partner Chanda Rubin lost to eighth-seeded Li Ting and Sun Tian Tian of China 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.
Williams won the 2000 doubles title with younger sister Serena, who pulled out of the Athens Games last week with a left knee injury. Monday's match was the first time Venus Williams had ever played doubles with anyone but her sibling.
08/17/04 12:40 EDT
Copyright 2004 The Associated Press.