Friday, January 23, 2009

Sports: Venus Williams ousted at Australian Open

Venus Williams was knocked out of the Australian Open on Thursday, losing 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 to 46th-ranked Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain.

Williams hardly looked like the reigning Wimbledon champion against the 20-year-old Suarez Navarro, whose previous best showing in a Grand Slam was reaching the French Open quarterfinals last year.

Looking increasingly sluggish, Williams was broken while serving for the match and dropped the last five games.

Suarez Navarro, overmatched at first, broke twice in the second set as Williams let a number of reachable shots fly past. She saved a match point while serving at 4-5 in the deciding set and broke Williams in the next game, aided by a double-fault from the American.

Suarez Navarro squandered one match point while serving at 40-15 in the next game before Williams netted a forehand for her 37th enforced error.

Williams' sister Serena struggled earlier and headed straight to the practice courts for extra work after a 6-3, 7-5 win over Argentina's Gisela Dulko. She gave her performance a "D-minus at best" as 45th-ranked Dulko matched her shot for shot.

"Lots and lots and lots of room for improvement," second-seeded Serena Williams said. "But it's good that I was able to win, too, when I wasn't playing my best."

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