WIMBLEDON — Playing Olympic tennis twice a day proved too much for Venus Williams, and her workload at Wimbledon will now be a lot lighter.
Williams squandered a lead in each set Wednesday and lost her third-round match to No. 7-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5).
Seeking a record fourth gold medal in Olympic tennis, Williams still has a shot with sister Serena in doubles. They play in the quarterfinals Thursday.
In the first set Williams failed to convert three set points, then blew a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker. She was up 3-1 in the second set, but Kerber again charged back.
Like Williams, Roger Federer is also down to one shot at a medal. He advanced to the quarterfinals in singles but lost with Swiss teammate Stanislas Wawrinka in doubles. They were beaten by unseeded Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram of Israel, 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3.
Indian duo Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan were also knocked out of the doubles after a 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-3 defeat against French second seeds Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra.
Maria Sharapova, however, avenged her Wimbledon defeat against Sabine Lisicki as the world No. 3 savored a 6-7 (8-10), 6-4, 6-3 victory over the German in the third round.
Serena Williams hit 12 aces and repeatedly rocketed her groundstrokes past No. 13-seeded Vera Zvonareva to win 6-1, 6-0. Swinging lustily with almost every shot, No. 4-seeded Serena hit 32 winners to three for the Russian, who also lost when they met in the 2010 Wimbledon final. The younger Williams swept the final 10 games and was finished in only 51 minutes.
No. 2 Novak Djokovic hit 16 aces and came from behind to beat Lleyton Hewitt of Australia 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. Djokovic next plays No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, who beat Feliciano Lopez of Spain 7-6 (5), 6-4 less than 24 hours after winning a 48-game third set.
No. 3 Andy Murray of Britain rallied past Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters, playing in her first Olympics weeks before she retires, beat former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-4. Azarenka edged No. 16 Nadia Petrova of Russia, 7-6 (6), 6-4.
Federer, seeded No. 1, endured two rain delays and a shaky moment late in the first set to beat Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 7-5, 6-3. The four-time Olympian has yet to win a singles medal.
Brazil’s Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares made Olympic history as they clinched a 1-6, 6-4, 24-22 win over Czech fifth seeds Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek.
Melo and Soares’s victory, in four hours and 21 minutes on Wimbledon’s Court 16, was the longest ever Olympic men’s doubles match with 63 games beating the previous record of 59 in Thomas Johansson and Simon Aspelin’s 2008 clash against Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra in Beijing.
There was also a second record broken in the epic final set, which, at 46 games, was the longest in number of games in the history of Olympic men’s and women’s doubles.
That beat the previous longest of 38 games between Argentina’s Gabriela Sabatini and Mercedes Paz and Canada’s Jill Hetherington and Carling Bassett-Seguso in Seoul in 1988. — Agencies