Defending Champ Venus, Remaining American Women Out of Athens Olympics Singles

Posted on August 19, 2004

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).