Nadal, Henman eliminated; Sharapova, Venus advance
Wimbledon, June 23:
Green on grass, Rafael Nadal stumbled at Wimbledon. The French Open champion converted only one of 13 break-point chances and lost in the second round to unseeded Gilles Muller 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. The Spaniard was eliminated two days after French Open women’s champion Justine Henin-Hardenne lost in the first round. Also ousted was Tim Henman of Britain. Henman lost to Dmitry Tursunov 3-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 8-6. No British man has won Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. Defending champion Maria Sharapova won the first nine games, lost just four points in the second set and beat 15-year-old Sesil Karatantcheva 6-0, 6-1. Karatantcheva beat four-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams last month at the French Open and reached the quarter-finals there. But the young Bulgarian, who trains in Florida, was unable to pull off another upset. Two-time champion Williams also advanced, beating Nicole Pratt 7-5, 6-3. Nadal hit 11 aces, lost his serve just three times and had 37 winners to only 21 unforced errors.
In the pivotal third set, Nadal lost his serve at love when he double-faulted to fall behind 5-3. Muller served out the set, then broke again for a 3-2 lead in the fourth set and held serve the rest of the way to win the duel of left-handers. While the fourth-seeded Nadal was sidelined, another promising 19-year-old advanced. No 27 Richard Gasquet of France hit 18 aces and beat qualifier Gilles Elseneer 7-6, 7-6, 6-7, 6-2. Eleni Daniilidou, who beat Henin-Hardenne on Tuesday, defeated Laura Granville 6-2, 6-0. No 16 Nathalie Dechy beat wild card Jane O’Donoghue 6-2, 6-2, eliminating the last British woman in the tournament. No 20 Daniela Hantuchova, who next plays Williams, defeated Shahar Peer 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. No 29 Marion Bartoli and No 32 Virginie Razzano lost. Bartoli was beaten by American Jill Craybas 6-1, 6-4. Razzano lost to Cara Black 6-4, 7-6.