WIMBLEDON, England - Serena Williams won the first six games Friday, then lost two points in a row and screamed in anger. Her standards and expectations are high, especially now that she’s the lone Williams left at Wimbledon.
Family pride was stung Thursday with the elimination of two-time champion Venus Williams. The kid sister took it particularly hard because she considered Venus’ result unjust.
“I think I’m upset more than she is,” Serena said.
Venus’ loss to Karolina Sprem was marred by a mistake by chair umpire Ted Watts, who gave Sprem an extra point in the tiebreaker that ended the match. Fallout from the error Friday included the All England Club’s decision not to use Watts the rest of the tournament.
“I’ve never been in a match where the umpire is not able to stay focused on their job,” a somber Serena said.
Aside from the umpire’s competence, the tainted tiebreaker raised other issues, including why neither player questioned the incorrect score. Fair or not, the upset was the latest disappointment for the slumping sisters, who haven’t reached a Grand Slam semifinal since Serena beat Venus for the 2003 Wimbledon title.
They lost in the same round of a tournament for the first time in the French Open quarterfinals, and Serena made certain there would be no repeat in the second round at Wimbledon. The two-time defending champion beat qualifier Stephanie Foretz 6-0, 6-4 — and that score is correct.
The Williams family has won the last four Wimbledon titles.
“We put all our hopes and all our spirit and energy toward whoever is left in the tournament,” said Serena, who is scheduled to play Magui Serna on Saturday for a berth in the final 16.
Serena said she didn’t watch Venus’ match because she gets nervous, but she seemed well-versed on the 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) defeat. The umpire’s error made the score 2-2 in the second tiebreaker, and 10 points later, Venus was out of the tournament.
Serena questioned why Sprem failed to acknowledge the error when it happened.
“As a competitor and as a professional, you should be able to distinguish between right and wrong,” Serena said. “I’m an honest individual. If I were in that situation, I know I’d make the right choice.”
Sprem said Thursday she was confused but didn’t think about the score because she was focused on the match.
Among other top players offering their opinion was Andy Roddick, who said he would have trouble taking a free point because of an umpire’s error.
“I’ve heard that no one noticed and stuff,” he said. “But if it’s the biggest match of your life, I’m figuring you know what the score is.”
Venus’ failure to challenge the error was also questioned. She said Thursday she thought she had lost track of the score.
“Nobody in my box would have let that happen,” Jennifer Capriati said. “They would have been like, ‘Wrong score!”’
Roddick said: “I’m sure we’ve all forgotten the score from time to time. But in a tiebreaker on Centre Court at Wimbledon, if I was threatening to be on my way out, I don’t know if I’d forget it. That seems to be something that would be on my mind.”
With the departure of Williams and French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, who lost Friday, No. 5 Lindsay Davenport is the highest-seeded player left in her half of the draw. The most formidable potential obstacles in Serena’s half are No. 7 Capriati and No. 4 Amelie Mauresmo, who hope to end the Williams family’s Wimbledon reign.
Mauresmo said the sisters are less intimidating than two or three years ago.
“They don’t win as much,” she said. “When you see players being beaten a little bit more often, it gives you a lot more confidence when you walk on the court with them.”
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic wasted a chance to serve out the match and was beaten 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 by sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych in the Italian Open quarterfinals Friday.
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