Roddick Ripped by Chilean Gonzalez, Venus Exits at Athens Olympics
Posted on August 19, 2004
No. 2 seed Andy Roddick, the clear favorite for the gold at the Athens Olympics after an early exit by world No. 1 Roger Federer, found himself out of medal contention Wednesday after a 6-4, 6-4 loss to No. 16 seed Fernando "The Flayin' Chilean" Gonzalez.
Roddick attempted to set the tone early with a Babolat barrage, but the Chilean's go-for-broke baseline style trumped the American's best.
"You have to tip your hat to Fernando," Roddick said. "You know he is going to hit some amazing shots, but sometimes it will get away from him a little bit. Today he just played great all the way through. When I saw he was playing offense on my offense, I knew it was going to be a long day."
Other seeds sent home Wednesday were (15)Tommy "The R." Robredo (l. to Federer-killer Berdych 7-6 in the third) and (14)Nicolas Kiefer (l. to Youzhny in three).
Two seeds dodged the upset bug, coming back from a set down in (3)Carlos Moya (d. "Dr." Ivo Karlovic), and (8)Sebastien "The Skateboard Kid" Grosjean (d. Feliciano "F-Lo" Lopez 6-0 in the third). Another three-set winner was another Chilean in (10)Nicolas Massu (d. Andreev).
While Roddick is no longer in the medal hunt, two other Americans announced their intentions to stay around for the weekend in un-seeds Taylor Dent (d. Ljubicic) and Mardy Fish (d. Max "The Beast" Mirnyi 6-1 in the third).
"My backhand is the thing that holds my game up the most," said Fish, holding class on the finer aspects of his ground game. "When I'm not playing well, I always have my backhand to kind of back me up. Unfortunately, it's not a huge forehand like Federer has or Roddick has, but it's definitely been there my whole life and it's been a great solid shot for me."
A win on Thursday for Fish or Dent will guarantee them a medal.
All four results in the men's doubles Wednesday were upsets with winners Fernando Gonzalez/Nicolas Massu of Chile (d. (1)Bryan brothers), (WC)Croats Mario Ancic/Ivan Ljubicic (d. (3)Llodra/Santoro 9-7 in the third), India's (5)Mahesh Bhupathi/Leander Paes (d. (4)Black/Ullyett), and unseeded Germans Nicolas Kiefer/Rainer Schuettler (d. (8)Erlich/Ram in three).
On court Thursday in quarterfinal action are (3)Moya vs. (10)Massu (Spaniard leads meetings 1-0), Fish vs. Youzhny (Russian leads 1-0), Berdych vs. Dent (first meeting), and (8)The Skateboard Kid vs. (16)The Flayin' Chilean (first meeting).
Today's doubles semis feature India's (5)Bhupathi/Paes vs. Germans Kiefer/Schuettler, and rolling Chileans Gonzalez/Massu vs. Croats Baby Goran/Ljubicic.
Hewitt Closes Toward Final With Agassi at ATP Washington
Only four results from the ATP stop in Washington Thursday, with three seeds advancing in (2)Lleyton Hewitt (d. Falla), (4)Robby "Baby Courier" Ginepri (d. Levy in three), (7)Cyril Saulnier (d. Elseneer), and the unseeded "Everybody Loves" Raemon Sluiter (d. A.Martin 7-6 in the third).
"I'd never seen him play before," said Hewitt on Falla. "It took time to get into the match. All I knew was that he's a lefty. I had to analyze his game a bit, then try to play my game."
On court Thursday at Washington for spots in the quarters are (Q)Kratochvil vs. (8)Tursunov, Muller vs. Gambill, (1)Agassi vs. Pless, and Mathieu vs. (SE)Garcia.
U.S. Women Tennis Exiled from Athens Olympics
All three remaining American women's singles players were knocked out of the Athens Olympics Wednesday in (6)Venus Williams (l. to Pierce), (16)Chanda Rubin (l. to (2)Mauresmo), and unseeded Lisa Raymond (l. to Molik).
The results were stunning considering the U.S. won the gold in singles and doubles at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, but this time will leave empty-handed. The U.S. team was hindered by the injury withdrawals of Serena Williams, who partnered with Venus to win the Sydney doubles, and former Olympic gold medalist Jennifer Capriati.
Venus kicked in 51 unforced errors and five double faults in her loss, including one on match point.
"That was over a week ago, and in sports, that's ages ago," said Venus when asked, after a seemingly less-than-stellar effort, if she was bothered by her sister pulling out.
The top-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne crushed the spirit of unseeded Aussie Nicole Pratt 6-1, 6-0, with the Belgian looking the clear favorite to meet the No. 2-seeded Mauresmo in the final.
Other winners on the day were (3)Anastasia Myskina (d. Greek hope Daniilidou), (5)Svetlana Kuznetsova (d. (10)Schnyder), (8)Ai Sugiyama (d. (12)Karolina "The Spreminator" Sprem), and (11)Francesca Schiavone (d. Fabiola "The Fabulous One" Zuluaga in three).
On Thursday are (1)Henin-Hardenne vs. Pierce (H-H leads meetings 2-0), (5)Kuznetsova vs. (2)Mauresmo (Frenchwoman leads 1-0), (3)Myskina vs. (11)Schiavone (Russian leads 2-0), and (8)Sugiyama vs. Molik (Aussie leads 1-0).
American Frazier Tops Winners at WTA Cincinnati
Seeded winners Wednesday at the WTA stop in Cincinnati were (3)Amy "Joltin' Joe" Frazier (d. Mashona "Little Sis" Washington), (4)Marion Bartoli (d. Santangelo), and (7)Flavia "Of the Day" Pennetta (d. Ashley in three).
Un-seeds into the second round were (LL)Antonella Serra "Nevada" Zanetti (d. Groenefeld), Russian Alina Jidkova (d. Lee-Waters 7-6 in the third), American Laura Granville (d. Kleinova in three), and Tunisia's Selima "So Near Yet" Sfar (d. (8)Weingartner in three).
On tap for Thursday are Granville vs. Chladkova, Ant. Serra Zanetti vs. Zvonareva, Davenport finally hitting the court for her first match vs. Osterloh in an all-American, Peng vs. Jidkova, and Rita "Ain't It" Grande vs. Flavia "Of the Day" Pennetta.
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NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Taylor Dent is the cousin of U.S. beach volleyball star Misty May...During her singles win over Chanda Rubin Wednesday, Amelie Mauresmo was stricken with a skin allergy, which forced her and partner Mary Pierce to withdraw from the doubles competition in Athens...The U.S. women will not be on the medal stand in tennis for the first time since the sport was reintroduced at the Olympics in 1988...From the front page of today's SI.com website: "Andy Roddick, Venus Williams, Chanda Rubin and Lisa Raymond all fell in the third round in Athens. Taylor Dent was the only U.S. winner on Wednesday." That can't make Mardy Fish feel too good, as the under-the-radar American also won on Wednesday...Andre Agassi is looking to reach the quarterfinals for the 10th time in his 16 appearances in Washington today. Agassi is 42-10 career in Washington...Check out page S8 (US Open pull-out in the middle) of the latest Tennis magazine for the Tennis-X mention. Time to get bloggy. More to come when staff members hit the Open site later this month...No fire from Venus, maybe an early retirement is in the cards as dad Richard Williams predicted? Venus has already been No. 1, and exhibited a "been there, done that" attitude in Athens that doesn't bode well for the US Open. Sister Serena, between "acting" gigs, should have plenty of fire left with her limited court time due to the knee injury, though having lingering problems with a surgically-repaired knee is never a good sign. Discuss...Anyone for a nice Tomas Berdych vs. Mikhail Youzhny final at the Olympics? Or how about a Nicolas Massu vs. Fernando Gonzalez all-Chilean? Yikes...The quipping 6-foot-3 Wayne Arthurs after losing to the 5-foot-9 Sebastien "The Skateboard Kid" Grosjean at the Athens Olympics: "He actually serves very well for a midget."