Wed, Mar 30, 2016 - Page 20 News List

Williams, Murray ousted from Miami Open


Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov returns to Andy Murray in their Miami Open men’s singles match in Key Biscayne, Florida, on Monday.

Photo: AP

Serena Williams had been out of the tournament for less than 20 minutes when she climbed into her white Mini Cooper with the checkerboard top and pulled away from the players’ parking lot, fastening her seat belt as she drove.

A hasty departure, for sure.

Williams’ 20-match winning streak at Key Biscayne in Florida ended on Monday with a 6-7 (3/7), 6-1, 6-2 loss to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round of an upset-filled Miami Open.

Williams was bidding for her ninth title at the event and her fourth in a row, but after a grueling first set that lasted nearly an hour, the 21-time Grand Slam champion faded on a sweltering afternoon.

It was her earliest exit at Key Biscayne since 2000, when she lost in the fourth round to Jennifer Capriati.

“I did the best I could,” Williams said during a post-match press conference that lasted less than three minutes before she cut it off. “I can’t win every match. These players come out and play me like they’ve never played before in their lives. I have to be 300 percent every day.”

Williams, 34, will retain the world No. 1 ranking, but she has not won a tournament since earning her 69th title in Cincinnati, Ohio, in August last year.

“She’s still No. 1 and she still plays great,” Kuznetsova said. “I don’t see much to be depressed about.”

A wave of upsets continued in the men’s singles, too, with world No. 2 Andy Murray dropping the final five games against world No. 26 Grigor Dimitrov to lose 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 6-3.

Murray played in the late afternoon and declined to blame the heat, but he committed 22 unforced errors in the final set and 55 in total. He was broken six times, including in his final three service games.

“I made many more mistakes than usual, especially in the third set,” said Murray, a two-time Miami Open champion. “He was more solid than me.”

Murray’s elimination leaves the tournament without four of the five top-seeded men. Among them only world No. 1 Novak Djokovic reached the round-of-16.

Milos Raonic, the 12th seed, held every service game to beat the last American in the men’s singles, 22nd seed Jack Sock 7-6 (7/3), 6-4.

Kuznetsova, the 15th seed, beat Williams with defense, repeatedly extending points until she forced a mistake. The Russian finished with only 18 unforced errors to 55 for Williams.

In addition, Williams’ serve was uncharacteristically unreliable. She hit 13 aces, but also had nine double faults and was broken six times.

Williams said the 33?C temperature — a record for the time of year — did not faze her.

“Physically, I’m fine,” she said. “I don’t know, I guess I didn’t move today. Maybe that was one of the things that didn’t work out for me.”

Kuznetsova, 30, won the Miami Open 10 years ago and is into the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009.

“I’m too old,” she told the crowd. “I’ve been many times on this court. I love being back here and I’m really happy with my performance.”

Also sidelined were third seed Agnieszka Radwanska and fourth seed Garbine Muguruza.

Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka, seeded 13th, committed only 12 unforced errors and defeated Muguruza 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/4), while 19th seed Timea Bacsinszky eliminated Radwanska 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

World No. 2 Angelique Kerber played past midnight to eliminate Timea Babos 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.

Williams lives 90 minutes from Key Biscayne and has long considered the event her home tournament, but the stadium was two-thirds empty for her match, partly because of weather so uncomfortable some spectators draped towels over their heads seeking refuge from the sweltering sun.

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