Williams sisters left waiting for Wimbledon

The Williams sisters, who have created records ever since they first emerged from the park courts of California, had a new, unwanted experience here yesterday, losing on the same day and in the same round of a Grand Slam championship.

The Williams sisters, who have created records ever since they first emerged from the park courts of California, had a new, unwanted experience here yesterday, losing on the same day and in the same round of a Grand Slam championship.

Within 30 minutes on a damp afternoon, both Serena and Venus were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the French Open women's singles. Serena, a winner here in 2002, lost to her American compatriot Jennifer Capriati, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, on Court Philippe Chatrier. Venus was defeated by Anastasia Myskina, of Russia, 6-3, 6-4, on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Before the day was over, the French spectators, who have not been especially kind towards the Williams sisters, suffered the disappointment of watching Amélie Mauresmo, their great hope for the title, falter once again. The third-seeded Mauresmo, who won clay-court titles in Berlin and Rome en route to Paris, was defeated by Elena Dementieva, of Russia, 6-4, 6-3.

Having resisted the habit of double-faulting to self-destruction, Dementieva, the ninth seed, will play the 14th-seeded Paola Suarez, of Argentina, who eliminated the budding Maria Sharapova, of Russia, 6-1, 6-3.

The Williamses are yearning for the Wimbledon lawns, the scene of their last domination of a major championship, when Serena defeated Venus in last year's final. Since then they have both been beset by injuries. Both sisters missed September's US Open and although Venus travelled to the Australian Open in January, she was beaten in the third round.

Sadly, their contribution here in Paris amounted to little more than a costume drama, with Serena, in startling fuchsia, running away with the prize for most gaudy competitor.

If anything, Serena's dress made her a clearer target for Capriati, who continued where she left off at the recent Rome Masters by defeating Serena, the second seed, for only the second time in 10 matches.

Capriati, the winner of the French title in 2001, her year of redemption after failing to cope with the pressures of her stardom as a teenager, was as determined yesterday as the formidable-looking Williams was fragile.

Having broken for 4-3 in the opening set before a seven-minute rain delay, Capriati broke a second time, to love, in the ninth game. Williams responded by winning the opening four games of the second set.

Both players then had time to regroup during an hour's rain interruption at 5-1, Williams returning to level the match - a fair reflection of the number of errors on both sides.

Although Capriati's right thigh was strapped from the start of the match, she moved well and betrayed few signs of discomfort.

Her opponent, however, was clearly troubled after appearing to tweak a muscle below her left buttock while serving a double-fault on the way to being broken in the fourth game of the final set.

Capriati lost her advantage in the next game but Williams, increasingly having difficulty serving, was broken decisively for 5-3.

There was a fascinating cameo on match point. Capriati danced in celebration after landing a shot on the back of the baseline at 40-30, only for the line judge to call the ball out. The umpire overruled the linesman and ordered the point to be replayed. Capriati's incensed father, Stefano, meanwhile, was doing Donald Duck-like vertical take-offs in a guest box.

Jennifer turned round and said: "Calm down, dad." When the point was replayed, she lured Williams into netting a forehand.

Williams was not inclined to make excuses - "I didn't have a physical problem, none at all" - and confined herself to bemoaning the way she had played. "I just had a bad day with the serve," she said. "I made it tough on myself by not performing, by not doing anything at a professional level.

"I was an amateur today. I don't think I got any first serves in today, it's hard to win in those conditions. My forehand did not want to come either. It stayed at the hotel." Next week, Serena will find herself outside the world top 10 for the first time since April 1999.

The seventh-seeded Capriati was "happy and relieved" with her victory. She said: "I really earned it. I played better and deserved the win." She will play Myskina for a place in Saturday's final. The Russian sixth seed, who was appearing in her first French Open quarter-final, had lost her three previous matches against Venus Williams, the fourth seed.

Showing few signs of nerves, Myskina won the opening four games yesterday and did not flinch after a minor setback at the start of the second set, when Williams broke back after losing her serve in the first game. Myskina then broke for 4-3 and survived three break points when serving for the match at 5-4.

"I really fought," Myskina said. "Venus is not at her best level now. Usually she makes winners. Today she made more unforced errors."

Williams, who has been troubled by an ankle injury, did not disagree with Myskina's assessment. "I don't think she beat me today," the American said. "I just wasn't in a rhythm. Normally, against her kind of game, I'm going to do well, because she couldn't really hurt me.

"I maybe have lacked preparation ahead of this tournament and Myskina played well at the right times," Venus added. "I feel fortunate I was able to play at Roland Garros. I had a great time and I would have liked to take it further, but I am already getting prepared for Wimbledon.

"Serena and I are fighters and competitors," Venus added. "We won't sit back and accept those losses, we will be back in top form for Wimbledon."

Suggested Topics
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
arts + entsBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
people
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices