As it turned out, the real drama Monday was on the outer courts and much of it had to do with doubles.
Williams and her sister, Venus, got overwhelmed in the first set, then fell short in a rally attempt in the second in a 6-1, 6-4 loss to Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko. The Russian pair finished with a total of three unforced errors.
“We played clean tennis,” Petrova said. “And we didn’t give them a chance to get back in the game.”
Meanwhile, the Italian doubles team of Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani each pulled upsets in their singles matches — No. 20 Vinci over No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 10 Errani over No. 6 Angelique Kerber — to set themselves up for a quarterfinal meeting.
“I’ll be mean and so will she,” Vinci said. “And then afterward, we’ll be friends, just like before.”
In men’s doubles, the Bryan brothers pulled out a 6-7 (8), 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky. The win was highlighted by Bob Bryan’s between-the-legs shot at 5-5 in the second-set tiebreaker that set up a forehand winner and gave the 11-time Grand Slam champions momentum for the third set.
“There were 20 different options” for that shot, said Mike Bryan. “He picked the 21st.”
Last week, 30-year-old Roddick announced the U.S. Open would be his last tournament. He has since won twice, against a pair of unseeded opponents. Del Potro, the 2009 champion, is next. With Fish’s withdrawal, Roddick is the last American man left in the draw.
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