The Duncan Banner

Sports

May 26, 2013

Venus Williams loses to Radwanska sister at French

PARIS — Grimacing after some poor shots, leaning forward with hands on knees while catching her breath after others, Venus Williams left the French Open after the first round for the first time since 2001.

Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1-ranked player seeded 30th at Roland Garros, felt hampered by a bad back, had problems with her serve — all sorts of strokes, actually — and lost 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-4 Sunday to 40th-ranked Urszula Radwanska of Poland, who never has been past the second round of a major tournament.

Inflammation in her lower back limited Williams to two matches over the previous 1? months, preparation she called, with a chuckle, "extremely unideal."

"I can't really serve very hard. It's painful when I do that. But I'm getting better. I just, you know, ran out of time to get better for this tournament," said Williams, broken 11 of the 17 times she served Sunday. "My strategy was more or less to put the ball in, and that's very difficult for me, too, because that's not who I am. But that's all I had."

Her quick exit came a year after she lost in the second round at Roland Garros to Radwanska's older sister, Agnieszka, the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up.

"Yeah, of course, I was talking with Aga about Venus," Urszula said. "I was well-prepared for this match, and I knew she was a great fighter, so I should be focused the whole match."

Williams, naturally, also knows a thing or two about having a more successful tennis-playing sibling, and her short stay in Paris comes a year after younger sister Serena, who owns 15 Grand Slam titles, was upset in the first round at Roland Garros. Serena made a fluent return to the clay-court tournament in the early afternoon Sunday, overwhelming 74th-ranked Anna Tatishvili 6-0, 6-1 — and then addressing an appreciative audience at Court Philippe Chatrier in the local language.

Magnifique!

"I have been speaking French for years and years, but I don't really have a lot of confidence," Serena said later, in English. "It's way, way more nerve-racking than playing tennis."

On this day, for her, absolutely.

With shadows creeping across the court in the early evening, Venus had a much tougher time against Urszula, who is far-less-accomplished than Agnieszka, the French Open's fourth seed.

Truth be told, this result really was not nearly as stunning as Serena's French Open loss last year to 111th-ranked Virginie Razzano, who also won Sunday. That remains Serena's only first-round departure in 51 appearances at Grand Slams, and she rebounded by winning Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the London Olympics.

Venus, 32 and still learning to live with an energy-sapping autoimmune disease, now has two first-round losses in the past four Grand Slam tournaments. Her defeat at Wimbledon last June was the first time she'd left a major championship that early since she lost in the first round of the Australian Open 6? years earlier.

"With what I've gone through, it's not easy. But I'm strong and I'm a fighter. You know, I don't think I'm just playing for me now. I think I'm playing for a lot of people who haven't felt well," Venus said. "I think for me today it's a positive to be able to play three hours. I'm constantly finding ways to get better and to feel better."

The only other seeded player to lose on Day 1 was No. 11 Nadia Petrova of Russia, who was defeated by Monica Puig of Puerto Rico 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Otherwise, results went to form, with 17-time major champion Roger Federer picking up a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 victory over a guy making his Grand Slam debut, Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain, while No. 4 David Ferrer, No. 14 Milos Raonic of Canada and No. 18 Sam Querrey of the United Sates also were among the winners.

In an intriguing encounter filled with momentum swings, No. 15 Gilles Simon of France overcame a two-set deficit for the first time in his career to edge two-time major champion Lleyton Hewitt 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5.

The 32-year-old Hewitt, who won the U.S. Open in 2001 and Wimbledon in 2002, was asked Sunday whether he'll be back at the French Open and replied: "Don't know. Haven't even thought about it."

A similar question was put to Venus, who sounded bothered by the topic.

"If it's the last match, I'll let you know," she answered. "That's pretty much how it works."

The Williams sisters completely changed the way women's tennis was played in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with 120 mph serves, stinging forehands and fantastic court coverage. They faced each other in eight Grand Slam finals, including the 2002 French Open, which Serena won.

Neither Williams has enjoyed much success in Paris after that championship match, where the clay tends to dull the strength of their swings and the footing can give them problems. Venus hasn't been past the quarterfinals since 2002, while Serena hasn't since 2003.

"I just keep trying, and it hasn't been working out for me," Serena, who is ranked and seeded No. 1, said after stretching her career-best winning streak to 25 matches. "I may have gotten nervous in the past or may have basically choked a few matches away."

She won the first nine games against Tatishvili, and 30 of the first 37 points. On her serve, the final count was 28 of 33 points, bolstered by eight aces.

"I've played a lot of players who have very good serves, but hers is consistently good, so you always feel pressure when you're returning," Tatishvili said. "I wasn't really surprised, because I've watched her so much, you know? It's Serena Williams; you watch her always on TV or at tournaments. But it's the first time I felt what I had seen."

She probably saw plenty of Venus on television, too, but the older Williams is no longer the same player.

In a sign of the way things would develop, Venus was broken at love in the very first game. With Serena and their mother, Oracene Price, sitting in the stands — both occasionally placing chin on hand, looking glum — Venus kept missing the mark, finishing with 66 unforced errors to 40 for Urszula.

The match lasted 3 hours, 19 minutes, but it appeared ready to end much sooner, because Urszula took a 4-0 lead in the second-set tiebreaker, three points from victory.

Perhaps feeling some nerves, Urszula started missing more, and Venus sprinkled in the occasional winner, reeling off seven points in a row to even the match at a set apiece. But Urszula broke Venus to open the third set and moved out to a 4-0 edge. Venus made one last stand, getting within 5-4 — a handful of fans in the nearly empty Court Suzanne Lenglen stands started a clap-accompanied chant of "Let's go, Venus, let's go!" — she couldn't manage to pull even.

The match ended, fittingly, with one last miscue by Venus, a backhand she dumped into the net.

"I'm still shaking. Just a long match," Urszula told the crowd afterward. "It's an amazing feeling to beat her."

1
Text Only
Sports
  • 4-23 duncan baseball photo.jpg Demons hoping for top-four finish

    The Duncan baseball team will need to take care of business next week in its final District 2-5A games.
    The Demons are 7-5 in district (16-9 overall) after dropping both games of a doubleheader at Carl Albert Monday, 8-1 and 4-1. The Titans (13-1, 26-4) won the district title.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Girls soccer gets it done at Altus

    The Duncan girls soccer team battled in a tough environment at Altus to win 1-0 Tuesday.
    Lady Demon coach Delydia Gay said it was frustrating at times for the girls because of some questionable calls the officials made. But she was happy the girls pulled together to win.

    April 23, 2014

  • Meshell shines as Outlaws beat Warriors

    The Marlow baseball team got help from Beau Meshell on the mound and at the plate in a 7-4 home victory against Anadarko Tuesday.
    Meshell held Anadarko to one earned run off three hits and did not walk a batter. He reached base three times, had one run batted in and scored one run.

    April 23, 2014

  • Girls golfers take fourth at Deer Creek

    The Duncan girls golfers took fourth at a tournament hosted by Deer Creek High School at Coffee Creek Golf Course in Edmond Tuesday.
    Lady Demon coach Steve Etheridge said that the girls played as well as they have all year. Although the golfers struggled putting on some fast greens, Etheridge was happy with their overall performance.

    April 23, 2014

  • Empire softball tries to spark offense

    The Lady Bulldogs are trying to find a way to spice up their offense in preparation for the Class 3A slowpitch softball playoffs.
    Empire has played a tough schedule, with four of the first seven games coming against ranked opponents. However, coach Tony Roberts thinks the team just needs to have some more timely hitting to get on the winning track.

    April 23, 2014

  • 4-22 marlow baseball photo.jpg Outlaws shut out Indians

    Marlow baseball snapped a three-game losing streak with a 10-0 win at home against Comanche Monday.
    “We needed to get this win and we got it,” said Marlow coach Jeff Brewer.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 4-22 duncan golf photo albin.jpg Demon golfers focused on regionals

    The Duncan boys golfers have two more tournaments left before regionals.
    The Demons will head to Ardmore this Monday for a tournament that was postponed from March 3 because of the weather.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-22 tyee percival photo.jpg Tourney named in memory of T-ball player

    The Comanche Youth Council will dedicate its preseason baseball and softball tournament to the memory of a T-ball player who unexpectedly passed away this past weekend.
    Tyee Percival, 5, was in his first year of T-ball and played for the Rangers. The youth council has named its preseason tourney the Tyee Percival Memorial Tournament. The council will hang a commemorative banner over the T-ball field at the Comanche Field of Dreams.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lady Donkeys push towards playoffs

    Fighting its roster limitations, Bray-Doyle slowpitch softball has a rare opportunity in front of it.
    Coach Frank Moser is optimistic about his chances in district versus Mayesville and No. 5 Roff. While Roff has been one of the best teams in Class 2A — it has a winning record despite almost all of its games coming against ranked competitors — Mayesville has been one of the worst. It picked up its first win against Alex on April 8 by just one run.

    April 22, 2014

  • Outlaws have chance to host regionals

    The Marlow baseball team has had to overcome some adversity in recent weeks, but coach Jeff Brewer is confident the team will get back on track.
    The past week started with a road game at Blanchard, ranked seventh in Class 4A, last Tuesday. Then came a tough outing at home against Class 4A Newcastle Thursday and a showdown Friday at Sterling, ranked fourth in Class A.

    April 20, 2014

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Poll

Who do you favor for the U.S. Senate seat that Tom Coburn is giving up?

State Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton
U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond
State Sen. Connie Johnson, D-Oklahoma City
Former State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso
     View Results