In a massive upset at the Rio Olympics 2016, top seed and World No. 1 Serena Williams was knocked out of the women’s singles draw by the 15th seeded Elina Svitolina in the third round on Tuesday. The defending champion committed as many as 8 double faults and 37 unforced errors in the 4-6, 3-6 blowout that lasted just 1 hour 12 minutes.
The American did not look at all like the player won an Open Era record-equalling 22nd Major at Wimbledon just one month back. Struggling on the slow courts in the humid conditions, she failed to summon her usually impeccable serve which was the biggest architect of her downfall.
She conceded five breaks of serve one of which came in a horror seventh game in the second set during which she sprayed five double faults. That virtually sealed Serena’s fate and it was only a matter of a few more minutes after which the 20th ranked Ukrainian completed the upset win.
To think that the 21-year-old was pummelled 6-1, 6-1 by Serena the last time they had met at the 2016 French Open, makes the youngster’s effort all the more admirable.
Svitolina, who has the Athens Olympic gold medallist Justine Henin in her coaching team, was naturally elated with her maiden win over a top-ranked player.
“It’s one of my dreams to play against her and to beat her – I don’t think I was even dreaming about that,” said the Ukrainian.
She will next go on to face the two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova for a place in the semi-finals.
The legendary American’s Rio Olympic campaign thus comes to an end following another shock opening round defeat in women’s doubles alongside her elder sister Venus. The 34-year-old is the proud possessor of four Olympic gold medals that includes three in women’s doubles with her sister.
This latest defeat follows a series of upsets in tennis at Rio. The last few days have witnessed the exodus of some of the biggest names from the sport that includes the men’s World No. 1 Novak Djokovic as well.
Muguruza too departs
Earlier on Tuesday, the reigning French Open women’s singles champion Garbine Muguruza too departed. The Spaniard was routed 1-6, 1-6 by the 34th ranked Puerto Rican Monica Puig in another stunning result.