Venus Williams exits Madrid Open

Updated: 13 May 2009 12:36 IST

Venus Williams joined sister Serena on the sidelines of the Madrid Open after the third-ranked American player was beaten by Alisa Kleybanova.


Venus Williams joined sister Serena on the sidelines of the Madrid Open on Tuesday after the third-ranked American player was beaten 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 by Alisa Kleybanova.

Serena, who retired from her match on Monday with a right knee injury, watched on from the stands as Kleybanova picked her shots well and ran Williams ragged throughout the 2 hours, 12 minute contest.

After splitting the first two sets, Kleybanova broke early for a 2-0 lead as Williams' backhand misfired.

Williams broke the 26th-ranked Russian as she served for the match to level the set at 5-5.

But Williams continued to be troubled by erratic play as she lost her serve, eventually hitting long on match point to hand Kleybanova _ who knocked Ana Ivanovic out of the Australian Open earlier this year _ a pass into the third round.

"I felt like she won by just being aggressive from both sides (of the court)," Williams said. "Against me she had to go for everything and make everything. All her balls landed in today."

"See you next year" was the only consolation Williams could offer local fans.

Roger Federer began his final warmup for Roland Garros with a convincing 6-1, 7-5 win over Robin Soderling, while new No. 3 Andy Murray scored a tough 7-6 (9), 6-4 win against Simone Bolelli.

The Swiss star hit 24 winners and took advantage of the Swedish player's 25 unforced errors to capture four break points. Federer fired down 11 aces, including on the final point to clinch his place in the third round.

"It's about playing well and getting ready for Paris," said Federer, who has lost to Rafael Nadal in his last three trips to Roland Garros. "It's good to get the first match."

Federer, who had a bye for the first round, could lose his No. 2 position in the rankings to Murray without a good showing at the joint ATP and WTA event being played at the brand new "Magic Box" tennis center.

Bolelli hit 30 winners to Murray's 22, but the 61st-ranked Italian also had 50 unforced errors, including a forehand long to give Murray the first set tiebreaker after 1 hour, 17 minutes.

Murray, the defending champion, clinched the win with the only break of the match in the final game when Bolelli netted a forehand.

Murray will next play No. 16 Tommy Robredo after the Spaniard rallied to defeat Mardy Fish of the United States 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.

Earlier, Ivan Ljubicic scored the first upset after beating ninth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-5.

The Croatian wildcard broke ninth-ranked Tsonga three times, with two of those coming in the second set when Ljubicic rallied from 5-2 down to take it.

Madrid's conversion from a fast-playing hardcourt to a clay surface looked to benefit 14th-seeded James Blake, who beat Romania's Victor Hanescu 6-2, 6-4 for his first victory in the Spanish capital after six appearances.

"My curse was broken and all it took was moving to my least favorite surface," the 14th-seeded Blake said.

Hanescu hit 27 unforced errors with most coming on his second serve where he scored only six of 18 points and hit three double faults.

The 16th-ranked American player seemed to carry over his good form from Sunday's Estoril Open final loss.

"I just started playing my game instead of just trying to be a clay courter," said Blake, who will face another big-serving opponent in Ivo Karlovic next with the winner playing Federer. "I've got to play my style and play aggressive when I get the chance."

Other seeded players to advance included No. 7 Fernando Verdasco, No. 10 Nikolay Davydenko and No. 13 Marin Cilic, while Italian pair Andreas Seppi and Fabio Fognini plus Tomas Berdych also won.

On the women's side, fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic overcame a stubborn challenge from Daniela Hantuchova to win 7-5, 6-2.

The fourth-ranked Serb got off to a slow start with Hantuchova slapping a forehand wide down the line as Jankovic broke to even the first set at 5-5.

Jankovic took the first set when the 39th-ranked Slovakian netted.

Jankovic then broke Hantuchova early in the second frame but couldn't shake her opponent, who couldn't convert any of her seven break chances in the second set. Jankovic broke Hantuchova five times in the match to set up a third round match with Elena Vesnina of Russia.

Ninth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki advanced to play Kleybanova, while France's Amelie Mauresmo will play third-seeded Elena Dementieva after a 6-2, 7-5 win over China's Jie Zheng.

Italy's Francesca Schiavone, Agnes Szavay of Hungary and Russia's Vera Dushevina were also winners on Tuesday.

Topics : Tennis Andy Roddick Lukas Dlouhy Rohan Bopanna Leander Paes Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi Maria Sharapova
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