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ATHENS 2004

Roddick, Williams Ousted

Two of the biggest names in U.S. tennis are among those who lose after success the day before.

August 19, 2004|Bill Dwyre | Times Staff Writer

ATHENS — Tuesday was a great day for American tennis fans at the Olympics, an occasion to wave the red, white and blue. Wednesday called for a different colored flag. White.

When Wipeout Wednesday had ended, the U.S. box score read:

* Second-seeded Andy Roddick, a determined winner Tuesday night. Gone.

* Sixth-seeded and defending champion Venus Williams, a 6-0, 6-0 winner Tuesday night. Gone.

* Women's singles hopefuls Lisa Raymond and Chanda Rubin, each of whom had made a nice run to the third round. Gone.

* The pride of American doubles, the No. 1 team of Mike and Bob Bryan, top-seeded here and easing nicely Tuesday through their second quick straight-setter. Gone.

To their credit, young Americans Taylor Dent and Mardy Fish held up their part of the deal in men's singles, each advancing to the quarterfinals. A medal by either would be a career breakthrough, and each has a shot in a men's draw that now has left, as its marquee player in the bottom half, Sebastien Grosjean of France, seeded eighth. Also left, as a third U.S. hope, is the women's doubles team of Raymond and 47-year-old Martina Navratilova. They got a nice boost Wednesday night, when Mary Pierce and Amelie Mauresmo of France, who had beaten Williams and Rubin, respectively, in singles, pulled out of the doubles, putting Raymond-Navratilova in the quarterfinals. Mauresmo said she had a skin rash. She didn't pull out of singles, so, presumably, skin rashes hurt only during doubles.

Roddick's 6-4, 6-4 loss to No. 20 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile was the stunner of the day. The young American star had lived up to his press clippings, and more, in a classic three-set win over Tommy Haas of Germany on Tuesday night.

But Gonzalez, a 6-foot, 185-pound huge hitter, whose shots are as likely to hit the snack shop three courts down as they are the baseline, was hitting no snack shops Wednesday.

"When I saw he was playing offense on my offense, I knew it was going to be a long day," Roddick said.

Williams might have said the same thing about the shots Pierce was hitting in her 6-4, 6-4 victory, but there was little information, or substance, to be gleaned from her news conference. She whined, then headed off to get ready for the U.S. Open.

The Bryans were also victimized, at least in part, by Gonzalez, who teamed with Nicolas Massau to beat the twins from Camarillo and Stanford, 7-5, 6-4.

Dent's 6-4, 6-4 victory over Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia was a pick-'em going in. Dent was ranked 29th, Ljubicic 25th, but Dent broke service early in each set and made it stick.

Fish had to persevere against one of the last serve-and-volley players on the tour, Max Mirnyi of Belarus, who is ranked 23 slots lower than No. 22 Fish. In the end, form held and Fish won, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.

In the women's draw, Rubin lost to the second-seeded Mauresmo, 6-3, 6-1, and Raymond lost to Alicia Molik of Australia, 6-4, 6-4.

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