Tennis

World No. 1 Serena Williams and both No. 2s fall in the Miami Open

Top-ranked Serena Williams struggled against Svetlana Kuznetsova on Monday at the Miami Open.
Top-ranked Serena Williams struggled against Svetlana Kuznetsova on Monday at the Miami Open. El Nuevo Herald

Will the last top tennis player at the Miami Open please turn out the lights on Stadium Court?

This we know for sure: It won’t be the top two women or second-through-fifth ranked men.

World No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 2s Andy Murray and Agnieszka Radwanska lost Monday on Stadium Court at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park.

No. 15 seed and 19th-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia — the 2006 Miami Open champion — defeated Williams 6-7 (3-7), 6-1, 6-2 late Monday afternoon in the Round of 16.

The other big upsets: 28th-ranked Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-7 (1-7), 6-4, 6-3 over Murray of Scotland; and women’s world No. 20 Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 over Radwanska of Poland.

Only four of the top-10 ranked men’s players and five of the top-10 women are still alive in the field.

“It’s obviously disappointing,’’ a muted Williams, 34, began during a post-match news conference that lasted 2 minutes 40 seconds. “I’ve won here a lot, so it’s OK.’’

Said two-time Miami Open winner Murray, 28, of the strange string of losses by top-ranked players the first week of the tournament: “It has not happened often, that’s for sure, over the last eight to 10 years with the players that have been around. They’re extremely consistent players.

“I’m not sure exactly why that is. Sometimes if it’s extremely windy conditions, that can be more of a leveler, but the conditions the last few days have actually been really, really nice. It has been hot and humid, but good conditions for tennis.’’

Serena Williams talks about Novak Djokovic's remarks concerning women tennis players' lack of salary parity versus men's.

Williams, in her 16 appearances at the Miami Open, had won a record eight titles, including the past three years. Her last loss at Miami was in the 2012 quarterfinals. Her loss Monday snapped her 20-match win streak in the tournament and marked just the second time she has not advanced to the quarterfinal.

Williams had 55 unforced errors to Kuznetsova’s 18. The American from Palm Beach Gardens double-faulted to fall behind 1-4 in the final set, before Kuznetsova won two of the next three games to close out the match.

“The conditions were fine,’’ Williams said of the 80-degree temperatures. “I’m used to this weather. This is what I practice in.’’

What was the difference in the match?

“Well, whe won more games than me I guess,’’ Williams said.

When asked to expound on why she wasn’t moving as well as she usually does, Williams said she didn’t think it was “appropriate to criticize’’ her “movement.’’

“I did the best that I could,’’ she said, “so to the fans, I did the best that I could today. I can’t win every match. These players come out and they play me like they’ve never played before in their lives. So, you know, it’s the best that I could do. I have to be 300 percent every day.’’

The last time Williams lost this early in the tournament was in 2000, when she fell in the Round of 16 to Jennifer Capriati.

Kuznetsova, 30, had beaten Williams twice before Monday, in 2009 at the French Open quarterfinals and in 2007 at Stuttgart.

“You know, I have so many people saying, ‘Congratulations,’ I feel like I won the title already,’’ Kuznetsova said. “Not real.

“These days the tennis is extremely tough and each opponent is really difficult to play. I’m just focusing for [Tuesday’s] match. I don’t have too much time to rest.’’

The Russian meets countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova, ranked 31st, in a Tuesday quarterfinal at 7:30 p.m. Makarova defeated 16th-ranked Elina Svitolina Monday. Tuesday’s other women’s quarterfinal will feature No. 5 Simona Halep of Romania vs. Bacsinszky at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Halep defeated Heather Watson 6-3, 6-4.

In addition to Williams and Radwanska, seventh-ranked Petra Kvitova, ninth-ranked Roberta Vinci and sixth-ranked Carla Suarez Navarro had lost as of Monday. Third-ranked Angelique Kerber of Germany was scheduled to play No. 49 Timea Babos of Hungary in Monday’s late-night match.

Serena’s olders sister Venus, ranked 13th, lost last week in her opening match.

Though World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is still in the tournament, the men’s field has been hit heavily in less than a week, including No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who fell to No. 18 Roberto Bautista Agut 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 on Monday afternoon.

Among other top men’s players, world No. 3 Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament with a virus just before his match Friday and No. 5 Rafael Nadal got sick and retired during his match Saturday. Also, No. 4 Stan Wawrinka lost Saturday and No. 8 David Ferrer lost late Sunday after squandering a match point.

Miami Herald columnist Linda Robertson plays the All-Star Tennis Charity Event with tennis star Serena Williams. Video by Charles Trainor Jr.

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