… Portuguese deafens fans
… Nadal crushes Hewitt to extend Paris record to 31-0
PARIS, France (Reuters) – A tortured and tormented Venus Williams whimpered out of the French Open tennis yesterday while a Portuguese teenage upstart made a very noisy departure.
After labouring through her first match, surviving a match point in the second, American third seed Williams was finally put out of her misery in the third round when she was tossed aside by rising Hungarian Agnes Szavay 6-0, 6-4.
“I had a tough day,” summed up Williams.
But the tournament’s first real shock could not match the commotion created by a 16-year-old grand slam debutante.
Fans scrambled for their earplugs at Roland Garros when the decibel level went up several notches before France’s Aravane Rezai finally silenced Michelle Larcher de Brito 7-6, 6-2.
While Larcher de Brito deafened fans, top seeds Rafael Nadal and Dinara Safina made serene progress.
Four-time champion Nadal barely broke into a sweat as he overcame potential banana skin Lleyton Hewitt in a 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 hammering to extend his Paris record to 31-0.
The only drama came on the final point when Hewitt was unsure if Nadal had unleashed his seventh ace to win the match. The pockmark on the clay confirmed he had.
Russian Safina set up a last-16 date with Rezai by thundering past teenage compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-0 and holder Ana Ivanovic pulled off an equally emphatic 6-0, 6-2 drubbing of Czech Iveta Benesova.
Andy Murray grabbed a last-16 slot in Paris for the first time after Serb Janko Tipsarevic retired hurt. The British third seed was leading 7-6, 6-3.
Men’s fourth seed Novak Djokovic wasted little time in finishing off Ukrainian qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 in their interrupted second round match.
None of the big names could grab the spotlight from Larcher de Brito.
Standing at just 1.65 metres, Larcher de Brito is petite for a tennis player but she more than makes up for it with a cacophony of ear-splitting shrieks that follow her every groundstroke.
So loud is her sonic boom, it lasts long after she has made contact with the ball and fans could have been forgiven for thinking Concorde was once again airborne and making an emergency landing on Philippe Chatrier Court.
Rezai certainly thought so as she complained to the umpire several times during the match and even insisted he should consult the grand slam supervisor on the issue.
“Please, there is a limit, enough,” an angry Rezai shouted.
Larcher de Brito ignored the booing crowd to fire back: “There are no rules, so there is nothing I can do about it.”
Larcher de Brito is latest luminary to emerge from the Nick Bollettieri tennis academy in Florida where other grunting graduates include Monica Seles and Maria Sharapova.
Sharapova followed her on to court and her yelps were like whispers in comparison as she continued her comeback from injury with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova.
Williams barely raised a groan as she was outclassed by 29th seed Szavay who never lost belief during the 81-minute match.
In just 30 minutes, Williams had suffered her first love set drubbing since July 2007. On that occasion she rebounded to beat Nadia Petrova in the Fed Cup but there were to be no second chances yesterday.
The seven-time major winner raised a glimmer of hope when she nosed ahead 4-3 in the second set but surrendered that advantage with a dreadful double fault.
From then on, there was going to be only one winner, and a backhand into the net ended the American’s dream.
As Szavay performed a celebratory jig, Venus could only glance skywards as she made the long walk towards the exit.
“I’m used to beating people 6-0. I’m not used to … losing a set 6-0. So it completely was foreign ground for me,” she said.
In other upsets, seventh-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon and number 14 David Ferrer were beaten.
Former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero suffered a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 second-round loss to German Philipp Kohlschreiber.