Archive for Saturday, September 23, 2000

Williams sisters reach quarterfinals

September 23, 2000

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— Venus and Serena Williams overcame a slow start today to reach the quarterfinals in doubles at the Olympics, beating Elena Likhovtseva and Anastasia Myskina of Russia 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

The sisters, who are three-time Grand Slam champions, won for the 30th time in their past 31 matches.

Before a capacity crowd of 4,000 on Court 1, Venus and Serena each lost her serve in the opening set, and Serena struggled at the net. But the sisters took advantage of early breaks in each of the last two sets for the victory.

Venus Williams puts her 29-match winning streak on the line tonight in the quarterfinals of singles against Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario, the last player to beat her.

That was at the French Open, before Williams began a run that has included titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

In other women's play, 10th-seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia and No. 12 Barbara Schett of Germany advanced.

Dementieva beat Karina Habsudova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-1. Her opponent in the quarterfinals will be Schett, who rallied past Julie Halard-Decugis of France 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Meanwhile, by turning down an invitation to coach at the Olympics, the only thing John McEnroe missed out on was a lot of aggravation.

The men's team concluded a dismal showing with two losses Friday and finished 1-5. The only American to win a match, Jeff Tarango, was the last to be eliminated. He lost to Argentine Mariano Zabaleta 6-2, 6-3.

"It's unfortunate," Tarango said. "I was the last man standing. I would have liked to carry it a little further."

Without McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, the Americans had little star power. But they had the second-seeded doubles team and four veterans in singles: Tarango, Todd Martin, Michael Chang and Vince Spadea.

They weren't predicting a medals sweep, but they sure didn't expect to be eliminated after just two rounds.

"It's very disappointing," said Stan Smith, who took the coaching job after McEnroe turned it down.

Alex O'Brien and Jared Palmer lost their opening match in doubles to Mark Merklein and Mark Knowles.

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