Jun 27, 2011


WIMBLEDON, England — Serena William's comeback run at the All England Club ended Monday when she was beaten by France's Marion Bartoli, 6-3, 7-6 (6), in the fourth round.

Williams, the defending champion who missed much of the past year due to various health problems, went back and forth with Bartoli in a match filled with deep groundstrokes and pinpoint serves. The ninth-seeded Bartoli — a surprise finalist here in 2007 when she lost to Serena's sister Venus — won the first set in 47 minutes. In the second, she held five match points before defeating Williams and moving on to the Round of 16. 

It was the earliest exit here for Williams since losing in the third round in 2005.

It has been a trying year for Williams. Less than a week after winning last year's Wimbledon, she severed a tendon in her foot after she said she stepped on glass at a restaurant in Munich. She later developed blood clots in her lungs that required emergency hospitalization. She did not play competitively again until a Wimbledon warmup tournament in Eastbourne a few weeks ago. Still, she marched into the fourth round here and had created buzz that, perhaps, she could emerge with her 14th Grand Slam singles title.

It was not to be. Serving at 5-5 in the second set, Williams muffed a backhand on a point that could have put her up, 40-15. Instead, she faced a break point moments later, and hit an over-the-head running backhand volley wide to yield the game. While Bartoli served for the match, Williams's father, Richard Williams, watched from his box seat. His expression did not change but he could not have been pleased that his daughter, a four-time champion here, was in trouble.

   Bartoli hit shot wide, then outdueled Williams in a backhand-to-backhand exchange to pull even at 15-15. She moved two points from victory when Williams sent a forehand return into the net. An ace gave Bartoli match point.

   She hit a backhand wide, and Williams eventually brought the game to deuce with a backhand crosscourt service return. After the two traded points, Bartoli double-faulted, giving Williams a break opportunity. She took advantage with another backhand crosscourt service return winner.

  Williams took a 2-1 lead in the tiebreaker but then faltered on her serve, dumping a forehand drop shot into the net. She recovered with a powerful serve and jammed a short return down into Bartoli's backhand corner for a winner.

   It was a duel and both players fought ferociously for an advantage. Williams won one of them to pull to 4-4, then forced Bartoli to dump a forehand into the net to take a 5-4 lead.

  Bartoli responded with an ace. The game eventually moved to 6-6.

   Williams sent a backhand into the net to give Bartoli a fifth match point. Bartoli sent a serve deep to Williams's backhand that she could not return.

   Bartoli ran toward the net in joy, her face breaking into a wide smile. She was into the quarterfinals having defeated Williams, the defending champion.


Source - NY Times



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