Serena Williams Both Advances and Loses in Rio – August 7th

Serena Williams was active in both the women’s singles event and the women’s doubles event on Sunday. 

Day 2 of the Rio Olympics is history and the first round of the women’s event is complete. Day 1 already saw Eugenie Bouchard and Madison Keys advance to the 2nd round. On Sunday, several contenders joined those two players, including Serena Williams of the United States.

Williams faced Daria Gavrilova of Australia in the opening round, a player that has emerged this season as a peripheral contender on tour. Williams, with an effort that was called “patchy-at-times” by an NBC writer, defeated Gavrilova 6-4, 6-2 to advance (Dan Levinsohn). The World No. 1 will next face Alize Cornet in a 2nd-round match-up that could actually be very tricky for the American.

But where Serena’s efforts in singles were strong enough to see her through in straight sets, her results in doubles were not up to standard. Partnered with sister Venus, the Americans suffered a first-round loss in the doubles tournament to Barbora Strycova and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.

Previously the team of Venus and Serena had won a trio of gold medals, going all the way back to the 2000 Olympics in Australia. The loss was thus the first one that the two players ever suffered in Olympic doubles play.

Venus had previously gone out in the singles draw and it appears her form carried over into the doubles tournament. The Czech team won 6-3, 6-4 and Serena made some comments after the match, comments that were noted by Reuters:

“I wouldn’t stay it’s devastating…we had a chance to compete for our country, we did the best that we can. We had a blast out there,” Serena claimed.

“We’ve had so many Olympic doubles golds, so many grand slam championships. It’s been unbelievable.”

Other players that advanced in the singles tournament included Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki, Garbine Muguruza, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Angelique Kerber. All of those players will be active on Monday as Day 3 of the Rio games will feature all second-round matches in the women’s event.

Serena, in drawing Cornet, certainly is not a lock to make it through to the third round. Cornet is 3-3 against Williams with wins on clay, grass, and the hard-court surface.

Another key match-up on Tuesday sees Kvitova face Wozniacki in a battle of two struggling players. Madison Keys will face France’s Kristina Mladenovic in a contest that the American should probably only be considered a mild favorite in. Furthermore, Bouchard will face Kerber on the bottom of the draw, the Canadian holding a 3-1 heads-up record against the current World No. 2.

 

 

Shane Lambert