Saturday, May 31, 2008 By Matthew Cronin In just the second time in Grand Slam history, the William sisters were sent packing on the same day at a Grand Slam when six-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams joined her sister Serena in taking a stunning defeat on Friday.
First Serena played sloppy on the big points in a 6-4 6-4 defeat to Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik in the third round, and then late in the day as the light fell, the 27-year-old Venus went down hard in a 7-5 6-3 loss to the motivated Italian, Flavia Pennetta.
The only other time that the once dominant Williams sisters had lost on the same day at Grand Slam was at 2004 Roland Garros, when Jennifer Capriati took out Serena and eventual champion Anastasia Myskina sprinted past Venus.
"Yeah, just wasn't a good day for our family today, but we always learn and get more determined after our loss," said Venus. "We'll just come back harder."
Venus played a bit better than Serena, but faced a charged up opponent in the 26-year-old Pennetta, who is now armed with a take-no-prisoner's approach in her game. Mixing precision and power, Pennetta ably controlled the court, cutting off the angles, changing the direction of her shots and never allowing Venus to climb all over the net.
Even though the sun was going down, both women played on and at 9:48 pm, they engaged in an incredible match point, with the Italian yanking Venus around, going crosscourt and down the line until she forced a weak reply and then she hammered a forehand crosscourt winner.
"I got on the court and thinking, 'Hey, I can win this match,'" the 26th seed Pennetta said. "I never play two balls like the same balls. Also match point it starting to play like backhand, backhand, and then stronger and then less, and then again. It's perfect."
Pennetta, who called it the best Grand Slam win of her life, will face Spanish teen Carla Suarez in the fourth round, who overcame Australia's Casey Dellacqua 6-3 6-3.
Venus did not take the loss casually, but is well-worn veteran who knows how to move on. She would shed no tears.
"I decided that's not the approach I want to take," said Venus, who has not won a title this year. "That probably would be the easy thing to do, but that's not the approach that I want to take. I just want to move on and be positive and be an adult about it. [But] I never get used to losing. I don't think anyone gets used to losing. And if they do, then maybe it's time to retire."